Making sense of the different continuing education opportunities out there can be tough—and in the design industry, there are more options than ever for certificates to level up your practice. That’s why we asked five designers—Juanita Jimenez, Anna Kroesser, Amelia Strat, Yvonne Gerbasi and Jamie Gasparovic—to share their experiences with the online design courses they loved.
“I originally heard about QPractice [online training program] while I was searching for study material for the NCIDQ exam. It was later in my career, as you need to meet specific education and work experience requirements to be eligible to sit for the exam. A couple of years ago, the New Jersey chapter of ASID granted some local designers, myself included, free memberships to the program. I loved that the course felt like a community—you can join online or in-person study groups. It’s a three-month program that guides you every step of the way. You receive a weekly summary email with schedule reminders to help manage your time, lesson plans, exam tips, access to live or on-demand study material, multiple-choice practice tests, videos and live webinars for the Practicum. Overall, it’s a great program that makes the material easier to digest and helps you stay on track.” —Juanita Jimenez, Willow & East, Lyndhurst, New Jersey
Change Is Good
“We enrolled in the Business of Design [course] three or four months ago. We’ve been in business for 12 years, and we heard about it via Instagram through another interior designer whom we highly respect, who said it completely changed the way she ran her business. We’d been running our company almost the same way as when we first started, and we wanted to find a more streamlined project process, to determine how to generate more income—to figure out if our fee structure was the right fit and if we were charging enough, and [to develop] a more thorough client contract that left little room for interpretation. The [full 20-hour] course is long, so we are still going through it, but last month we switched over to a slightly different fee structure and adapted our client agreement. We also streamlined the project process and made it so potential clients can view our website with some upfront transparency, which has helped weed out the not-so-serious prospects. There hasn’t been a ton of time to see if this is all working for the better, but we’re really excited about the changes!” —Anna Kroesser and Amelia Strat, Kroesser + Strat Design, New York
“When I made the decision to start my own design studio, I wanted to be very intentional about what I kept in the materials library. I spent a lot of time researching and comparing products and manufacturers to try to find the best products for each category. It was an impossible task, since nothing was apples to apples! I ended up discovering The New School Parsons’s Healthier Materials and Sustainable Building certificate course, which had so many excellent resources, including their Healthy Materials Lab and a great discussion on healthy affordable housing projects. I still refer back to their Materials Library and course content when I’m trying to find more information about a product or a potential product swap. It truly is overwhelming as a designer to try and hit all the boxes of healthy, sustainable, works-for-the-client’s-style, budget-friendly [product], but this course is a good motivator, extremely eye-opening, and where I’d love to see the future of design go.” —Yvonne Gerbasi, Basi Collective, Cleveland
All in One
“I was about four years into owning my design firm when I heard about the Interior Design Standard [program] on LuAnn Nigara’s A Well-Designed Business podcast. My business was profitable, but I was trying to take a step back and be very proactive about how I was running things moving forward. The Standard appealed to me for a few reasons. One, what I knew of [course founder] Sandra Funk’s personality really resonated with me—she is a great designer with a thriving business, and she also curses and drinks wine while talking design. My kind of lady! The other thing that drew me to enroll was the promise that everything was included: templates, processes, contracts, emails and so on. I have invested in quite a few design courses, and a lot of them give you some information but still [require] you to go out and reinvent the wheel a bit. With the Standard, truly everything was included, which is invaluable. I also love the sense of community. Sandra encourages you to set up accountability groups with other designers enrolled, which helps to keep things on track while implementing [new systems]. There is also a Facebook group for the Standard, and everyone is very open and helpful.” —Jamie Gasparovic, Studio Gaspo, Orlando, Florida
Homepage image: Layers of texture create softness in this New York apartment by Kroesser + Strat Design | Sean Litchfield