Online Design Degree Programs

The field of design is a large discipline that includes many different areas of expertise. Design is a major component of many fields from the clothes people wear to the houses they live in. Undergraduate design degree programs provide students with a solid education that combines creativity, business, and technology. These programs prepare students to lead a meaningful and successful career in the field of design. Students usually choose a specialization, but can often transfer to different career paths. Read more about online design degree programs.

Some Stats

In 2006, there were 15,467 associate degrees conferred in design and music. There were also 1,264 bachelor and 115 master degrees in industrial design; 1,827 bachelor and 63 master in fashion/apparel design; 4,030 bachelor and 244 master degrees in interior design; 3,909 bachelor and 116 master degrees in graphic design; and 849 bachelor, 227 master, and 2 doctorate degrees in other design and applied arts (1). In 2006, fashion designers held about 20,000 jobs with 24% being self-employed, industrial designers held about 48,000 jobs with 30% being self-employed, and graphic designers held about 261,000 jobs with 25% being self-employed (2).

Employment Outlook

The job outlook for employment in design varies greatly on degree, discipline and position. Employment of fashion designers is expected to grow more slowly than average for all professions from 2006 to 2016, increasing 5% and adding 1,000 new jobs. Industrial designers are projected to experience as fast as average employment growth, increasing 7% and adding 3,400 new jobs and employment of graphic designers is also expected to grow as fast as average, increasing 10% and adding 26,000 new jobs (2).

Specialties

The field of design is a large field and there are a variety of specialties design students can select from to concentrate on and develop expertise. The design specialties include graphic, industrial, fashion/apparel, interior, 3D, advertising, exhibit, architecture, Computer Aided Design, desktop publishing, floral, environmental, furniture, game, landscape, illustration, toy, transportation, and website design. Students interested in a particular specialty should select a school that has a strong program in that area.

What to Expect

Design programs are usually liberal arts based while giving students an opportunity to specialize in a particular area. Majority of design degree programs require general education courses in areas such as biological and physical science, history, English, composition, and math. The core coursework varies greatly by program, but most design degree programs include courses in design thinking, design fundamentals, drawing and design in 2D and 3D, public speaking, professional writing, history of design, and the designed environment. Graduate design programs prepare students to pursue higher level positions in areas such as research or teaching.

The End Result

An undergraduate degree in design opens the door to many career options in the field of design. Students who decide to continue their education and obtain a master or doctorate degree will be prepared for higher paying careers in many different areas. Careers for design degree graduates include:

Industrial Designer
Graphic Designer
Fashion Designer
Director of Product Design
Design Manager
Visual Design Consultant
Product Manager
Creative Director
Information Architect
Photographer

Individuals who have artistic talent and creativity and enjoy developing plans for a variety of areas will find a design career as rewarding. Designers use their knowledge, expertise, and creativity to create drawings or models of something new that will be produced. They play a major role in the development of items people use in their everyday life.

(1) SOURCE: U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics
(2) SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009 Edition

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