Interior Design
Schools and Degrees

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The interior design industry is a complex and competitive industry which includes careers in residential, business and environmental design. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 45,010 interior designers employed in the United States in 2014. The BLS reports that interior designers are expected to have a bachelor’s degree for entry-level jobs, although some employers will accept associate degrees or specific interior design certification.

Interior Design Schools and Programs

Interior designers are responsible for designing attractive and functional spaces inside a home or building. They must work within specific guidelines to determine what types of items, lighting and color schemes suit a given space. The role of a typical interior designer may include such tasks as:

  • Reviewing design plans
  • Interpreting client instructions and goals
  • Preparing a projected project timeline
  • Estimating project costs
  • Ordering items to create the commissioned space
  • Working within a specified design budget

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the interior design field will grow by 13 percent between 2012 and 2022. Meeting the increased demand for interior designers is the goal of interior design programs across the nation. Interior design colleges and universities provide several educational paths to becoming an interior design professional.

Interior design schools introduce students to the fundamentals of design, architecture and color coordination so they can design and develop functional and attractive spaces. Many of today’s successful interior designers work with advanced software programs and CAD to create working designs and blueprints for their designs. Most interior design schools train students in the latest technologies and software programs so that graduates are ready for employment immediately upon graduation.

Vocational Schools

Vocational or trade schools offering interior decorating programs introduce students to the fundamentals of space planning, computer aided design and color theory for both residential and commercial settings. According to Certified Interior Decorators International, most vocational schools offer only interior decorating certification rather than the more complex interior design certification or degree plans.

Students learn how to work with contractors, understand complex building codes and design specialized environments for a wide range of industries. Students may complete a CID certification program at a vocational school in preparation for an entry-level career in the field without the need for a college degree. Coursework typically ranges from 24 credit hours to 60 credit hours.

Art Schools

Students develop strong artistic abilities and general business management skills at art schools offering interior design programs. Art schools may offer interior design certification or associate degree programs. Many art schools offer design programs with a strong focus on using computer aided design and drafting (CADD) software, traditional art and design theory. Art schools may offer both online and offline programs. Coursework varies between 24 credit hours and 60 hours for interior design certifications and associate degrees, while four-year programs at art schools typically range in credit hours from 120 to 200.

Community Colleges

Community colleges offer associate degree programs in interior design to prepare students for entry-level careers in the industry. Classes may include basic design theory, architectural and furniture history, computer aided design (CAD) and color theory and application. Students may also create studio projects where they solve design-related problems using knowledge and skills they have learned in their coursework.

Some community colleges offer an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree or a Certificate of Completion (CCL) in interior design or interior merchandising. Associate programs typically take two years to complete with an average of 60 credit hours. Completing an associate program at a community college may help students transfer in to a university offering a bachelor’s degree in interior design.

Four-year Schools

Accredited four-year schools offering bachelor’s degree programs in interior design strive to prepare students for work as an interior designer. A Bachelor of Arts in interior design or Bachelor of Fine Arts in interior design degree program typically provides training in the principles of design, computer applications, space planning and problem solving. These programs should be accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). A portion of the program may involve hands-on training where students design a room or building according to specific guidelines and use advanced computer software programs. Some schools offer the opportunity to specialize specific areas of interior design, such as digital technology, historic preservation, sustainable design, retail floor design or corporate design. A bachelor’s degree in interior design typically requires between 120 and 200 hours of coursework.

Special Schools

A few colleges and universities focus specifically on design. These colleges and universities are known for their high-quality interior design programs and specializations. In addition to offering standard coursework in interior design, these schools may host workshops and events with speakers, such as celebrity interior designers or successful interior designers, so that students can learn more about their future careers. Many schools have smaller class sizes so that students have direct access to their professors and can learn from mentors and other professionals. Specialized interior design schools often offer exclusive internships and apprenticeships with some of the top design firms across the nation.

Some of the most respected special interior design schools include:

  • New York School of Interior Design
  • Boston Architectural College
  • New England School of Art and Design
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Parson’s The New School for Design

The following guide serves as an introduction to interior design education, including a review of educational options, types of interior design, curriculum, required industry certification and an interview with a current interior design student at San Diego State University.

Students interested in a career in interior design can find programs in both community colleges and four-year colleges. The following rankings offers insight into some of the best interior design degree programs in the United States today.

Best Interior Design Schools and Programs: 2017

An interior design school or program will allow students to enhance their creative skills while learning strategies to become an established professional in this field. To ensure that students enroll in a quality program, we have analyzed every on-campus and online interior design school and program in the country based on our methodology and compiled a ranked list of the best options for students. Learn more about the best interior design schools and programs for the 2017 school year below.

RankSchool Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratioRanking Score School Description Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1 Metropolitan Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
20%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 99.79
Read more

Students that enroll in the Interior Design program at Metropolitan Community College will have the opportunity to learn about the theory and practice behind the profession. This program is designed to benefit those who are interested in creating aesthetically pleasing spaces in a variety of environments while exercising their creativity and skill. Upon successful completion of the program’s required 100 credit hours, students will receive their Associate in Applied Science degree and may then be eligible to work as professional designers in the field.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
2 Tulsa Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
39%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 98.67
Read more

The interior design program at Tulsa Community College allows students to study an occupation in the field while receiving the area-specific skills needed to enter or advance a career by blending their academic and professional experience. Offered both online and at the school’s Southeast campus, students are able to complete the required 72 credit hours either in a traditional classroom or entirely at a distance. Courses will cover various topics including cost estimation, display, lighting, sales, and floor plan drafting. Upon graduation, students may be eligible to enter a career or continue their education at a four-year institution.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
3 Johnson County Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
18%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.62
Read more

Johnson County Community College offers various degrees and certificates that prepare students for entry-level jobs in interior design in field areas including kitchen and bath, marketing and management, floral design, sales and staging. All courses are taught by experienced professionals who are able to share valuable, real-world information while delivering quality academics in theory and application. The interior design program encourages students to complete 240 hour internships in order to practice their academics in a professional setting. Upon graduation, students may be eligible to transfer to a four-year schools for further educational advancement.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
4 Mesa Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
25%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.61
Read more

The interior design program at Mesa Community College covers necessary skills that help students enter entry-level careers as interior designers after graduation. Courses will cover topics such as color and design theory and application, drafting and computer aided design (CAD), and the history of architecture and furniture. Student who complete the Associate in Applied Science degree may be eligible to transfer their credits to Northern Arizona University to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design after graduation. Advisors are also available to help students plan their academic roadmap.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
6 Sinclair College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
28%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.07
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
7 Santa Rosa Junior College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
21%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.06
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
8 Santa Fe Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
8%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.88
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
9 Central Piedmont Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.46
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
10 Cape Fear Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.20
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
11 Athens Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.19
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
12 Scottsdale Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
23%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.99
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
13 Randolph Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
11%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.93
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
14 Lansing Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
10%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.67
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
15 Spokane Falls Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
14%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.59
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
16 Harcum College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.95
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
17 Delta College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.88
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
18 San Jacinto College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.82
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
19 Latter-day Saints Business College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
51%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.62
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
20 Front Range Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.58
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
21 Norwalk Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
26%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.40
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
22 Fox Valley Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
12%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.37
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
23 Delgado Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.11
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
24 El Centro College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
7%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.94
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
25 Kirkwood Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
19%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.86
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
26 Collin College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.85
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
27 Ohlone College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.85
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
28 Wichita Area Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.74
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
29 Waukesha County Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.73
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
30 Chabot College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.38
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
31 Montgomery College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
21%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.33
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
32 Delaware College of Art and Design Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
91%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.33
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesNo Credit for ExperienceNo
33 El Paso Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.21
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
34 Chaffey College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.21
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
35 Saddleback College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.19
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
36 Arapahoe Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
10%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.11
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
37 Monroe Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
8%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.00
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
38 Ivy Tech Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.92
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
39 West Valley College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.91
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
40 Canada College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
6%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.74
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
41 Pellissippi State Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.70
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
42 Tidewater Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.68
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
43 Houston Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.58
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
44 Wake Technical Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.56
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
45 Santa Barbara City College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.42
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
46 Triton College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
8%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.19
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
47 Lanier Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.16
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
48 Monterey Peninsula College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.14
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
RankSchool Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratioGrad RateRanking Score School Description Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1 Converse College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 99.71
Read more

The interior design program at Converse College may be a great fit for prospective students who are naturally creative, self-motivating and business-minded individuals. By learning how to create and design spaces for public and private environments, students will be able to influence the experiences other people have in various environments. Students are required to complete a professional internship which will help them network with area professionals and build their resume and portfolio. Upon graduation, students will be awarded with their Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design which may make them eligible to enter a career or continue their education through a graduate program.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
2 Salem College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
63%
Ranking SCORE 99.01
Read more

Salem College gives students the opportunity to study a career in design with concentrations in interior design, graphic design, and architecture. This program is a good choice for creative and motivated individuals who are interested in learning from trained professionals in the field. The classroom is designed to be a collaborative environment where students share ideas with peers and instructors and then receive feedback. Students are also encouraged to complete area-specific internships, complete specialized projects or study abroad in order to further develop their expertise in interior design.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
3 Marywood University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 97.97
Read more

At Marywood University, students are able to pursue their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Architecture/Design. This four-year degree program teaches students the skills needed to create and design enjoyable spaces in various environments. Courses are taught by experienced professionals and are designed to cover basic information including aesthetic awareness along with theoretical and technical strategies. Upon successful program completion, students may be eligible for employment or can continue their education through Marywood University’s Master of Art in Interior Architecture/Design degree program.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
4 Maryville University of Saint Louis Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
70%
Ranking SCORE 97.74
Read more

College-bound students seeking to learn the area-specific skills needed to excel as an interior designer can pursue a BFA in Interior Design at Maryville University. This program was created with quality and proficiency in mind, so students receive a comprehensive education that fosters creativity, technical proficiency and aesthetic awareness. Upon graduation, many students become professional interior designers. St. Louis and the surrounding area is home to some of the most established interior design firms which allows for internships, guest speakers, experienced faculty, and networking and employment opportunities after graduation.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
5 Auburn University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
65%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 97.50
Read more

Those interested in designing better spaces for clients may benefit from the interior design degree program at Auburn University. The Bachelor of Science in Interior Design degree program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design, which may ensure that students are receiving the necessary skills and information to become a professional in the field. Students can receive support from program alumni, the Interior Design Advisory Board with opportunities for internships, mentoring programs, sponsorships and hands-on projects with clients. Upon graduation, students may be eligible to work as interior designers for commercial, hospitality, and residential spaces along with other design specialties.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
6 Taylor University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
77%
Ranking SCORE 97.50
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
7 New York School of Interior Design Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
38%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
75%
Ranking SCORE 97.50
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
8 Purdue University-Main Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
47%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
70%
Ranking SCORE 97.15
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
9 Samford University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
71%
Ranking SCORE 97.07
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
10 Mississippi College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
62%
Ranking SCORE 97.00
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
11 Andrews University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 96.96
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
12 Asbury University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
76%
Ranking SCORE 96.83
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
13 Oklahoma Christian University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
50%
Ranking SCORE 96.80
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
14 Chaminade University of Honolulu Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
36%
Ranking SCORE 96.76
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
15 University of California-Los Angeles Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
53%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
92%
Ranking SCORE 96.73
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
16 Bay Path University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
50%
Ranking SCORE 96.70
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
17 Endicott College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
86%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
72%
Ranking SCORE 96.63
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
18 Suffolk University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
77%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
56%
Ranking SCORE 96.51
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
19 Iowa State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
75%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
71%
Ranking SCORE 96.41
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
20 Brenau University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
45%
Ranking SCORE 96.37
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
21 Concordia University-Wisconsin Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 95.98
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
22 Abilene Christian University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 95.85
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
23 Judson University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
50%
Ranking SCORE 95.61
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
24 Arizona State University-Tempe Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
86%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 95.53
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
25 Mount Mary University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
35%
Ranking SCORE 95.52
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
26 Villa Maria College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
33%
Ranking SCORE 95.48
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
27 Ohio State University-Main Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
82%
Ranking SCORE 95.27
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
28 Washington State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
51%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 95.07
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
29 Queens University of Charlotte Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 94.96
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
30 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
54%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
73%
Ranking SCORE 94.95
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
31 Meredith College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 94.88
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
32 Ferris State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
63%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
53%
Ranking SCORE 94.85
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
33 The University of Texas at Austin Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
39%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
79%
Ranking SCORE 94.83
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
34 University of Northern Iowa Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
59%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
66%
Ranking SCORE 94.70
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
35 University of Idaho Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
56%
Ranking SCORE 94.66
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
36 University of Florida Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
29%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
85%
Ranking SCORE 94.63
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
37 Michigan State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
44%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
79%
Ranking SCORE 94.44
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
38 Park University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
80%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
41%
Ranking SCORE 94.32
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
39 Appalachian State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
39%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
66%
Ranking SCORE 94.19
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
40 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
54%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
62%
Ranking SCORE 94.14
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
41 University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
61%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
66%
Ranking SCORE 94.14
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
42 Harding University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
91%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
61%
Ranking SCORE 93.95
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
43 Philadelphia University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
61%
Ranking SCORE 93.93
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
44 Indiana University-Bloomington Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
46%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
75%
Ranking SCORE 93.72
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
45 California State University-Long Beach Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
40%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
57%
Ranking SCORE 93.43
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
46 Adrian College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 93.41
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo

Interior Design Schools Must-Have List

Scheduling Flexibility

Look for interior design schools that offer flexibility with class schedules or the option to take some or all of your courses online. These programs can help you achieve your educational goals without compromising career or income.

Accreditation

Interior design programs should be accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Some programs are also accredited by industry organizations such as the National Kitchen and Bath Association and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Apprenticeship Resources

Some employers may prefer to work with interior design school graduates that have completed an apprenticeship program prior to graduation. Look for schools that offer some assistance in finding or recommending apprenticeship programs for new grads.

Internship Opportunities

Some interior design schools have an internship component built into the program so that students can acquire valuable work experience before they graduate. You may be able to secure an internship working at an interior design firm, architectural firm or design company in your local area while attending school.

Studio Time

Many interior design programs include studio hours offering hands-on practice with CAD software programs, design blueprints and project completion in individual or group settings. Studio hours give students a chance to apply a variety of skills while working on specific projects.

Job Placement

Some schools, colleges and universities offer job placement assistance so that students can secure a job before graduation. Job placement can be valuable for new graduates entering the workforce and may open doors to other opportunities. Some schools work closely with local and regional interior design firms, architectural firms, independent designers and other design professionals to match up students with employers for entry-level jobs or specialized positions.

Interior Design Degrees and Certificates

According to the American Society of Interior Designers, at the minimum, most states require an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in interior design. The ASID states that 26 states currently have licensing requirements before job seekers are allowed to call themselves an interior designer. Many of these states require interior designers pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam before becoming listed as an interior designer. The ASID recommends that students complete at minimum, a four-year program of study in interior design before entering the field.

Degree-Level Program Length Credit Hours
Certificate 3 to 18 months
(typically completed in
addition to a four-year
degree program)
24 – 30
Associate 24 to 36 months 60
Bachelor’s 48 to 60 months 120 – 200

Interior Design Certificate

Certification programs may be offered through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ), a supplementary program to an interior design degree. Other certification programs can serve as a supplement to a bachelor’s degree in architecture, the arts or a related field.

Drafting

Students learn how to use basic drafting tools and work with space and furniture plans. They learn the fundamentals of elevations, perspective drawings, lettering and drafting techniques.

Building Codes

Students study uniform building codes and design requirements for different types of buildings. This is a crucial component of designing spaces for various environments and requires a basic understanding of room arrangements, lighting and color.

History of Architectural Interiors

This course includes the study of furniture and decoration styles throughout history with an emphasis on specific designers and their crafts. Eras of study may include the Renaissance period, Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt.

Introduction to Design Sketching

Students learn basic drawing techniques to draw a variety of objects, including furniture, appliances and different types of materials.

Interior Design Associate Degrees

Students can complete an interior design associate degree program online or on campus at an accredited school. Associate degree programs typically take two years to complete, but may take longer. Associate programs are designed to prepare students for an entry-level interior design position or serve as foundational training for an undergraduate degree program. Certain accredited associate programs provide the basic knowledge and training to sit for the National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam.

Examples of courses offered in an associate degree program include:

Color Theory

Covers the basics of color and its implications for designers and artists. Students study color wheels and color spheres, and learn techniques to incorporate color into their work.

Textiles

An introduction to different textile fibers, yarns, fabrics and textile products. Students learn how to describe different types of textiles for use in a variety of applications and basic fabrication techniques, such as knitting and weaving.

Architectural Lighting Design

Students learn the basics of lighting and the functions of illumination in interior spaces. They learn how to choose the right types of lighting fixtures for different spaces, such as classrooms, residences, offices and retail spaces.

Commercial Design

An introduction to the specialized area of commercial design where students learn how to work with commercial design teams, review code issues and design spaces for corporate business offices.

Interior Design Bachelor’s Degrees

The bachelor’s program for interior design is designed to introduce students to basic design concepts and architectural styles. The program also introduces students to theories and practices for developing solutions for a variety of design problems. Students are typically exposed to a variety of media and take course in graphic arts, digital design, art history and general education courses. Some schools provide students with access to a lab or design studio where they can work on projects and make use of advanced computer software programs used in today’s design world. Many bachelor’s programs include a portfolio component where students can take professional development courses and work on projects for their portfolio.

Examples of courses offered for interior design bachelor’s degree programs include:

Building Structures and Systems

An in-depth study of the laws, regulations and standards for interior design practices for different types of building structures and systems.

Design Research

An understanding of research methodologies and techniques that can be applied to a particular project.

Lighting Layout and Design

Study of the theoretical, technical and practical applications of lighting strategies for different types of environments.

Introduction to Sustainable Design

Principles of sustainable design and the importance of creating eco-friendly spaces for residential and commercial buildings.

Interior Design Master’s Degrees

A master’s in interior design can be completed online or on campus, depending on the school. Master’s degrees in interior design typically take two years to complete, but may take longer. Some schools offer weekend programs and evening classes for greater schedule flexibility. Courses focus on critical thinking, an in-depth review of design concepts and exploration of interior spaces over time. Courses typically include a hands-on project segment. Coursework is usually a combination of theoretical courses and creative courses. Master’s degree programs prepare students for leadership and management positions within the interior design field.

Examples of courses offered for interior design master’s degree programs may include:

Professional Practice of Interior Design

Consideration of interior design office practices, marketing strategies and the legal aspects of coordinating different types of interior design projects.

Interior Environmental Technologies

Study of different environmental conditions that take psychological factors, health, safety and human sensory reactions into account.

Advanced Architectural Interiors

Solving advanced design problems in different types of urban settings, public places and other environments.

Color Theory Planning and Practice

A through examination of the art and science of color theory as it relates to interior design and creating aesthetically pleasing spaces.

Interior Design PhD or Dual Degrees

Doctoral students work with a professor or mentor on interior design projects and complete advanced studies in their field. Completing an interior design doctoral program can prepare students for research opportunities in the field of construction, planning and design. Students need to complete a certain number of credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, typically ranging from 30 to 40 credit hours. Some schools may accept transfer credits from a graduate program in a related field, which can reduce the time it takes to obtain the degree. Students complete a series of interdisciplinary courses that cover theories and history of design, textiles and other design concepts. Some doctorate degree programs incorporate computer sincere theory and practice. Courses may encompass advanced research methods, interior design systems and advanced design planning and analysis protocol.

Doctoral students may choose to specialize in a certain area, such as green design or historic preservation of buildings. The educational track for a doctoral program or a dual degree program in interior design and related fields is customized for each student.

Interior Design Toolbox/Checklist

According to the American Academy of Interior Designers, one of the best educational career moves an interior design school student can make is to complete an apprenticeship or internship before applying for a full-time career. The AAID states that employers look for students who have completed an accredited program and have a strong portfolio of past projects. Even though schools may offer studio or portfolio development courses, hands-on training with a design firm or other design professionals is usually an invaluable asset to the student. Here are some essentials for any interior design school student:

  • Skills.

    Students completing an interior design program learn a variety of skills related to design, color theory, planning, communications and business management. Basic training programs usually cover concepts such as design theory, space planning and design software. Students develop strong artistic, technical, interpersonal and creative skills to design different types of spaces.

  • Essential Interior Design Software.

    Students will benefit from proficiency in a variety of standard computer and design programs including: Adobe Suite (PhotoShop CS, Illustrator CS, Indesign CS, Acrobat 9 Pro and Premiere Pro CS), Autodesk (AutoCAD 64-bit, Revit and 3D StudioMax), AutoDesSys (bonzai3d SE and form7), Bentley (MicroStation V8i), Google SketchUp Pro, Material Connexion and Microsoft Office. Students will need access to a computer that can run these programs with ease.

  • Internships and Apprenticeships.

    Completing an internship or apprenticeship program during school or immediately after graduation can provide students with invaluable work experience for their future careers. Internships can give students a chance to build work history, develop professional contacts and populate their resume with projects and references. Completing an apprenticeship program is proof of work in the field and can also give the apprentice access to industry professionals and mentors.

  • Certifications.

    Students who already have a Bachelor of Arts degree in a related field may consider completing a certificate program to supplement their degree. Certification in interior design can introduce students to basic concepts and applications of interior design principles that they can use throughout their careers. Respected interior design certifications include:

    LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

    Certified Interior Decorator (CID) from Certified Interior Decorators International.

    NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) certification from the Council for Interior Design Qualification.

  • Licensure.

    Obtaining an interior design licenses is not required but can be an attractive addition to a graduate’s resume. Students will need to pass the National Council for Interior Design (NCIDQ) exam on their own time to become a licensed interior designer.

Interior Design Snapshot

Employment of interior designers is expected to grow 13 percent from 2012 to 2022.

The American Society of Interior Designers reports that total industry sales will generate more than $6 billion each year, as of 2013. Approximately 25 percent of interior designers employed in 2012 were self-employed; others worked for specialized industries, including architectural firms, engineering companies and other service industries.

Licensed interior designers must pass a test given by the National Council for Interior Design. Creative workshops can be a valuable addition to any interior design educational track as they give students a chance to exhibit designs and develop a strong design portfolio.

Interior Design Specializations

Interior designers work on enhancing the quality, function and aesthetics of a residential or commercial space. Designers often specialize in a specific area of design, such as the specializations listed below:

Residential Interior Designers

The majority of interior designers work in the residential sector where they are responsible for designing and decorating living spaces. Residential designers may work closely with architects, builders and home decor specialists to create the ideal living environment for a client.

Corporate Interior Designers

Corporate interior designers are responsible for creating practical, functional and efficient workspaces for a company or firm. They may work with a team of designers, architects, builders and engineers to create the ideal workspace for a variety of business industries. They may be responsible for choosing a theme and working with office floor layouts to create a productive work environment.

Retail Store Designers

Many retailers work with interior designers to create attractive and inviting retail spaces. Interior designers may work closely with merchandising specialists, store managers, product buyers and other retail specialists to ensure the aesthetics of the space accommodate different store themes, merchandise and decor.

Stage and Set Designers

Interior stage and set designers work on television sets and performance stages in order to create realistic-looking living spaces, rooms or other sets. Interior designers interested in working in the film, television and theatre industries may start as a set designer or decorator.

Kitchen and Bath Designers

Kitchen and bath design specialists are typically responsible for working on kitchen and bath spaces to create attractive environments using the right types of fixtures, appliances, cabinetry, lighting, decor and electrical solutions to create inviting and functional bathrooms and kitchens.

Interview with an Interior Designer

Melissa Coufal is a student at San Diego State University planning to complete her bachelor’s degree in interior design in May 2015. She made the switch from real estate to interior design when she discovered her passion for designing interior spaces. Find out more about Melissa’s interior design path in this interview:

Melissa Coufal
What type of degree program are you completing this year?

I am earning my Bachelor’s Degree form the School of Art, Design, and Art History at San Diego State University.

What inspired you to pursue this program?

Prior to starting the program at SDSU, I was working as a real estate agent. What I enjoyed most about that career was being able to see the interiors of many homes and I would often think about the potential of a space or how I would design it differently. I started seeing interiors as a three-dimensional blank canvas that I could do anything with. In my decision to return to college, I knew that interior design was the right path for me.

What do you like most about your program?

The program at SDSU is small, which allows for quality one-on-one time with the professors. It is a very rigorous program and having that accessibility to our instructors is important for success. As far as the content of the program, I love how the practice of interior design requires individuals to equally explore both the creative and analytical sides of the brain. The idea of starting with a concept that later develops into a space that people live and exist in fascinates me. I think of it as functional art.

What has been your biggest challenge with the interior design program?

My biggest challenge has been making sure I stay inspired. Because of the copious amount of work that is required for every project, it was so easy to get caught up in the deadline to finish everything on time. I would get so stressed that I would sometimes lose sight of why I love design in the first place. As I progressed through the program and became more familiar with the process, I made sure to remember that I am designing for people to make their living and working experiences more enjoyable, and that staying inspired is what separates a good design from a bad one.

Do you plan on taking additional courses, certification programs or earning another degree in this field?

I am interested in getting my LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification through the U.S. Green Building Council. Sustainability and design are closely connected and I feel it’s important as a future interior designer to be knowledgeable about environmentally responsible design solutions and to constantly re-evaluate the ways in which we interact with our built environment.

What types of jobs or career paths are you exploring after graduation?

I would love to work in commercial design. I enjoy designing public spaces that bring community together. Working at a small architecture firm would be ideal because I feel I thrive better in an environment where I can have closer interactions and collaborations with co-workers.

After Interior Design School: What’s Next

Students who have successfully completed an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or advanced degree at an interior design school can explore apprenticeships for hands-on training, or enter the workforce as an interior designer or assistant interior designer.

Those who already have some work experience and an advanced degree may consider teaching positions at an educational institution or leadership positions at a design company. Continuing education courses in a particular field and specialization related to interior design, such as textile design, graphic design and furniture design, can help professionals stay competitive and advance in their careers.

Job Title Annual Mean Salary Hourly Mean No. Employed Growth Minimum education
Interior Designer $48,400 $23.27 45,010 13% Postsecondary certification
Commercial and Industrial Designers $64,620 $31.07 29,410 4% Postsecondary certification

Interior Designer: Discuss wants and needs of clients, including budget. Prepare and present design ideas to clients. Research and locate specific materials, including furnishings, paint, tile and more for a project. Keep abreast of project and update client. Ensure finished product is acceptable to client.

Commercial and Industrial Designers: Consult with clients and conduct research to develop and design industrial spaces and workspaces to fully optimize space. Consider and work with space limitations and challenges. Research and suggest building materials and analyze costs. Prepare and present designs to client in a way that can be understood.

Advice from an Interior Designer

Know that this program is very demanding! Effective time
management will be your best advocate for success. When choosing a program, look at the size of the classes because your professors will be your greatest resource. Architecture is becoming more relevant to the interior design industry; we aren’t just simply decorators. Research how prominent architecture is incorporated into the program because even a basic education in that capacity will make you a better candidate when entering the professional field.

Melissa Coufal, Interior Design student at SDSU