Mass Art certificate in industrial design / valuable?

I’m considering a mid-life career change into industrial design. My interest in industrial design has been only a serious hobby until now. I have no formal training but have designed and built several projects, from a flatware holder to a room divider.

Can anyone speak to the value of the Mass Art (Massachusetts College of Art) certificate in industrial design? What kind of job, if any, can one get in the Boston area after completing the certificate having had no other jobs or internships in design? Suggestions for programs in other schools in the area (RISD, Wentworth) are also welcome but they seem to only offer Bachelors degree. I have a BA already in another field. Perhaps that is what one needs?
Any advice will be appreciated.

I don’t know anything specifically about this program, but I never hear anything about ID at MassArt, so I don’t know how much faith you could have in it. It seems that MassArt has been expanding its program offerings and admitting more students to bring in more revenue. So, is this a serious program, or a cash cow for them? How many courses does it take to earn the certificate? Would this really make you competitive against ID BFA designers? On the one hand, you have to consider MassArt’s reputation in the field, and on the other hand, you have to figure out if a certificate (rather than a BFA or MFA) is the right path for you. RISD at least has a reputation in the field.

Thanks for the link. I’m not going to do your research for you. That page gives the number of credits required for the certificate, but you may want to ask the school about their placement rate, and maybe also talk to area employers about the program to see what they think about it. It’s still not a BFA in ID, and I would still urge caution.

Thanks for the advice

In general, “life experience” and/or a Master’s have no more value getting a job than a bachelors. Your portfolio counts the most, you should be able to get work with an Accociate’s but you wont be considered for many jobs or promotions afterward untill you’ve demonstrated all the ID skills and knowlegde. It’d be tough at 1st, working as an intern, getting $15/hr no benefits…if you have a family to support I’d suggest taking the plunge and going to the MID program at PRATT. They specialize in taking non-design students.

How about hiring an ID firm for a half day?
You get to talk to someone for 4 hours and get all the advice you need.
$500 vs. $20,000 x 4 years sounds like a good return to find out if this is for you.
Or this would be a real good reason to go to IDSA National Conference.

Another option is to leave it as a hobby.
Keep your day job and make things in the evening.
Making some wood furniture is fun and relaxing and you will continue to love your hobby and do whatever pleases you.
Making medical devices or consumer electronics is shall we say different.
You find lots of people talking about furniture in 2nd year university, but what they are talking about is expensive low volume furniture–that’s really about craftsmanship, not mass production high volume goods. Knoll Leather couches is totally different from Steelcase office chairs.

Go to one of their shows. Every semester the id class presents their work. it is open to the public, walk around and ask the staff and students some questions about the difference in the full progam vs. the cert. program.

yea great advice…

try the local church. 2 hours of praying vs. $20kx4years sounds like a good return as well.

I was faced a similar decision a year and a half ago, and convenient to this forum it was Mass Art that I was considering as a gateway to ID. I only attended Mass Art for one semester before returning to my home town of Chicago to enter another ID program here.
Currently I am still in school so I can’t give you a definitive success story of how Mass Art led to my own show at the Cooper Hewitt. But I can offer some assessment of the program. In a nut shell I would characterize it as a very good value and a great way to at least dip your toes into ID.

The faculty I was exposed to was excellent and offered tons of insight into the field. The program provides a connection to the local IDSA chapter which can help build a network with local firms and other designers.

Mass Art had a fairly good student community when I was there. Enrolled students (BA and certificate) have small individual studio spaces that are on the same floor as the architecture department. Dedicated students are there into the wee hours. The facilities are okay. Not a real advanced model shop, but it sounds like you are resourceful. There is a good computer lab with licenses to Solidworks, Rhino and Adobe suite – enough to build very solid ID computer skills.

Of course Pratt, RISD, Art Center and some other programs have better… everything; and that is reflected in their much higher prices.

So … if you live in the Boston area and want to explore this program – it won’t cost you much more than $500 to take the intro course. I believe that it is offered at night and is taught by Dick Keohan who is awesome. I endorse checking it out.

Good luck