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Career and Education Opportunities for Industrial Designers in Seattle, Washington

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for industrial designers in the Seattle, Washington area. About 1,140 people are currently employed as industrial designers in Washington. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 17% to about 1,330 people employed. This is better than the national trend for industrial designers, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.0% over the next eight years. In general, industrial designers develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys.

Industrial designers earn about $30 hourly or $62,500 yearly on average in Washington and about $27 per hour or $57,350 yearly on average nationally. Incomes for industrial designers are better than in the overall category of Art and Design in Washington, and better than the overall Art and Design category nationally. People working as industrial designers can fill a number of jobs, such as: millinery designer, design engineer, and mold designer.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including nine within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as an industrial designer. Given that the most common education level for industrial designers is a Bachelor's degree, it will take about four years to learn to be an industrial designer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Industrial Designer

Industrial Designer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, industrial designers develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. They also combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.

Industrial designers ready sketches of concepts or blueprints, using drafting instruments, paints and brushes, or computer-aided layout equipment. They also talk with engineering or sales departments, or with customers, to determine and evaluate layout concepts for manufactured products. Equally important, industrial designers have to modify and refine designs, using working models, to conform with customer specifications or changes in layout trends. They are often called upon to present designs and reports to customers or layout committees for approval, and consider need for modification. They are expected to direct and schedule the fabrication of models or samples and the drafting of working drawings and specification sheets from sketches. Finally, industrial designers evaluate feasibility of layout concepts, on the basis of factors such as appearance, safety, function, serviceability, budget, production costs/methods, and market characteristics.

Every day, industrial designers are expected to be able to prioritize information for further consideration. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for industrial designers to read publications and study competing products and layout styles and motifs to obtain perspective and generate layout concepts. They are often called upon to direct the look and function of product lines. They also participate in new product planning or market research, including studying the potential need for new products. They are sometimes expected to investigate product characteristics such as the product's safety and handling qualities, its market appeal, how efficiently it can be produced, and ways of distributing, using and maintaining it. Somewhat less frequently, industrial designers are also expected to design manufacturing procedures and monitor the manufacture of their designs in a factory to further optimize operations and product quality.

Industrial designers sometimes are asked to advise corporations on issues involving corporate image projects or problems. And finally, they sometimes have to design industrial standards and regulatory guidelines.

Like many other jobs, industrial designers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:

  • Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
  • Craftsman. Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.
  • Display Specialist. Plan and erect commercial displays.
  • Fashion Designer. Design clothing and accessories. Create original garments or design garments that follow well established fashion trends. May develop the line of color and kinds of materials.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Florist. Design, cut, and arrange live, dried, or artificial flowers and foliage.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • Interior Designer. Plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style. May specialize in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design.
  • Multi-Media Artist or Animator. Create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, and commercials.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Industrial Designer Training

Seattle Community College-Central Campus - Seattle, WA

Seattle Community College-Central Campus, 1701 Broadway Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122. Seattle Community College-Central Campus is a medium sized college located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,402 students. Seattle Community College-Central Campus has an associate's degree program in Commercial and Advertising Art which graduated eleven students in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Everett - Everett, WA

ITT Technical Institute-Everett, 1615 75th Street Sw, Suite 220, Everett, WA 98203. ITT Technical Institute-Everett is a small school located in Everett, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 481 students and an admission rate of 45%. ITT Technical Institute-Everett has an associate's degree program in Design and Visual Communications.

Seattle Pacific University - Seattle, WA

Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119-1997. Seattle Pacific University is a small university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,891 students and an admission rate of 84%. Seattle Pacific University has a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

Northwest College of Art - Poulsbo, WA

Northwest College of Art, 16301 Creative Dr NE, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Northwest College of Art is a small college located in Poulsbo, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 97 students and an admission rate of 43%. Northwest College of Art has a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated twenty-seven students in 2008.

Cornish College of the Arts - Seattle, WA

Cornish College of the Arts, 1000 Lenora Street, Seattle, WA 98121. Cornish College of the Arts is a small college located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 815 students and an admission rate of 78%. Cornish College of the Arts has a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated twenty-six students in 2008.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA

University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has 2 areas of study related to Industrial Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, bachelor's degree which graduated 10 students in 2008.
  • Industrial Design, bachelor's degree which graduated 18 students in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Seattle - Seattle, WA

ITT Technical Institute-Seattle, 12720 Gateway Dr Ste 100, Seattle, WA 98168-2610. ITT Technical Institute-Seattle is a small school located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 541 students and an admission rate of 36%. ITT Technical Institute-Seattle has an associate's degree program in Design and Visual Communications.

International Academy of Design and Technology - Seattle, WA

International Academy of Design and Technology, 645 Andover Park West, Seattle, WA 98188-0000. International Academy of Design and Technology is a small school located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 583 students. International Academy of Design and Technology has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated three and ten students respectively in 2008.

The Art Institute of Seattle - Seattle, WA

The Art Institute of Seattle, 2323 Elliott Ave, Seattle, WA 98121-1622. The Art Institute of Seattle is a small school located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,250 students and an admission rate of 77%. The Art Institute of Seattle has 2 areas of study related to Industrial Designer. They are:

  • Industrial Design, associate's degree which graduated 19 students in 2008.
  • Design and Applied Arts, Other Specialties, associate's degree and bachelor's degree which graduated fourteen and fifty-two students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Lighting Management Consultant: The lighting industry prides itself on distinguishing those persons who have accomplished this professional and personal achievement.

For more information, see the International Association of Lighting Management Companies website.

Certified Apprentice Lighting Technician: NALMCO offers a home study certification program, the Certified Apprentice Lighting Technician (CALT), which is indispensable for both entry-level and midlevel lighting management personnel.

For more information, see the International Association of Lighting Management Companies website.

Certified Senior Lighting Technician: NALMCO offers a home study certification program, the Certified Senior Lighting Technician (CSLT) which is indispensable for both entry-level and midlevel lighting management personnel.

For more information, see the International Association of Lighting Management Companies website.

Web Graphics and Multimedia Certificate: Equips the student for work as a Web graphic artist, creating illustrations, pictures, buttons, and other images for use on the Web, as well as the ability to create interactive multimedia designs in Flash or other programs.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Highway Design: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians who are engaged in the preparation of plans, specifications, and estimates for proposed highway construction projects.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Certified Playground Safety Inspector: Known as the most comprehensive training program on public playground safety, NRPA's National Playground Safety Institute offers hours of training by nationally certified playground safety experts, and prepares professionals for the Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) exam.

For more information, see the National Recreation and Park Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.