Interior designers are creative professionals who develop specifications for the practical and aesthetic interior features of built structures. They may work for individual clients in home residences, corporate clients in commercial construction, or institutions in specialized settings like hospitals, assisted living facilities, airports, and schools. A large number of interior designers are self-employed.
The job is not only about decoration, although this is one component. Designers are as likely to focus on elements like flame retardants and materials toxicity as color and style. To learn the science of structural planning and design functionality, professional interior designers typically earn at least an undergraduate education, although master and doctoral degrees are becoming more common in a competitive job market. Some of the best interior design schools are art schools with dedicated programs. A future interior designer may major in Interior Design or a related discipline like Facilities Management, Interior Architecture, or Textile Science.
Interior design is at once artistic and technical, and invariably has a business component. It is also a matter of regulation in many locations. This is true in about half the states. Four-year interior design programs should be accredited by the Council for Interior Accreditation (CIDA), National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), or a body approved by the Department of Education.
While there are associate and certificate programs for interior designers, sub-baccalaureate degrees are less competitive on a resume. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recommends that interior designers earn at least a bachelor's degree in ID or a related field to gain access to entry-level employment. Those with bachelor degrees are eligible to apply for certification with the National Council for Interior Design (NCID) and a state license where applicable.
Bachelor curricula in interior design introduce the creative, technical, and business skills that budding designers need to begin building their client base and portfolio. While some programs focus on residential settings, others emphasize the commercial, large-scale applications of the discipline. It is common to minor or double-major in an area like architecture or materials science at this level.
Courses for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design might include:
What can you do with a bachelor's degree?
Graduate degrees in interior design are relatively new to the discipline. Master students learn advanced problem-solving skills specific to interior environments, often in an area of specialization, such as gerontological design, hospitality, or branding.
Students also become well-versed in valuable portfolio management skills and can begin building their own professional portfolio. Note that an undergraduate portfolio is usually required for admission to a master's program, and a thesis and capstone portfolio presentation may be required for graduation.
Earning a master's degree in interior design gives job applicants a competitive edge over bachelor degree-holders. It also enables graduates to teach at some colleges and universities. College-educated individuals who want to switch to a career in interior design from another field often go straight to an ID master's. At many schools, it is possible for qualifying students to go to graduate school for interior design with a bachelor's degree in any field.
Not all interior designers study ID at the master's level, however. Some major in interior design as an undergraduate and then move on to a master's degree in a related area, like interior architecture or urban design to expand their marketable skills. Other designers, aware of the business dimension of the profession, go on to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Studio courses for a Master of Interior Design may include:
What jobs are available to master degree-holders?
While relatively few interior designers earn a doctorate in the profession, the Ph.D. in Interior Design has become more prevalent. Designers with a Ph.D. from one of the top interior design schools have the greatest educational edge over job market competitors.
Doctoral programs prep graduates for managerial positions and well-compensated careers in, for example, major commercial settings or as independent consultants. Those with an advanced ID degree can work in academia and help advance the science of interior design through research.
Doctoral programs require students to write and defend a research dissertation in a highly specialized area of study. Interior designers at this level often practice while finishing their degree.
A doctorate in Interior Design could include studies in:
A Ph.D. in Interior Design can lead to a career as a:
We found 207 schools offering interior design degree programs in the U.S.
|Patricia Stevens College||Saint Louis||MO||122|
|Interior Designers Institute||Newport Beach||CA||134|
|Omore College of Design||Franklin||TN||148|
|Art Institute of Las Vegas||Henderson||NV||154|
|Altoona Area Vocational Technical School||Altoona||PA||154|
|Virginia Marti College of Art and Design||Lakewood||OH||181|
|Pennsylvania College of Art and Design||Lancaster||PA||191|
|Art Institute of Charlotte||Charlotte||NC||194|
|Watkins College of Art and Design||Nashville||TN||338|
|Design Institute of San Diego||San Diego||CA||358|
|Villa Maria College Buffalo||Buffalo||NY||405|
|Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design||Lakewood||CO||410|
|Bradley Academy for the Visual Arts||York||PA||465|
|Harcum College||Bryn Mawr||PA||545|
|Art Institute of Houston||Houston||TX||551|
|Cleveland Institute of Art||Cleveland||OH||553|
|Moore College of Art and Design||Philadelphia||PA||573|
|Cabell County Career Technology Center||Huntington||WV||582|
|Louisville Technical Institute||Louisville||KY||612|
|Harrington College of Design||Chicago||IL||646|
|Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - San Francisco||San Francisco||CA||663|
|The Art Institute of Portland||Portland||OR||666|
|David Wolcott Kendall Memorial School||Grand Rapids||MI||744|
|Atlantic Union College||South Lancaster||MA||755|
|The Art Institutes International Minnesota||Minneapolis||MN||760|
|Latter Day Saints Business College||Salt Lake City||UT||824|
|D G Erwin Technical Center||Tampa||FL||853|
|Bowling Green Technical College||Bowling Green||KY||854|
|Illinois Institute of Art at Schaumburg||Schaumburg||IL||870|
|The Art Institute of Atlanta||Atlanta||GA||934|
|Marymount College of Fordham University||Tarrytown||NY||938|
|Ringling School of Art and Design||Sarasota||FL||958|
|Ai Miami International University of Art and Design||Miami||FL||997|
|Salem College||Winston Salem||NC||1027|
|College for Creative Studies||Detroit||MI||1086|
|University of Charleston||Charleston||WV||1096|
|Mount Ida College||Newton||MA||1196|
|Baker College of Port Huron||Port Huron||MI||1230|
|Mount Mary College||Milwaukee||WI||1246|
|Ursuline College||Pepper Pike||OH||1252|
|Halifax Community College||Weldon||NC||1308|
|International Academy of Design and Technology||Tampa||FL||1325|
|The Illinois Institute of Art||Chicago||IL||1395|
|Columbus College of Art and Design||Columbus||OH||1416|
|Art Institute of Dallas||Dallas||TX||1463|
|Pacific Union College||Angwin||CA||1468|
|Carteret Community College||Morehead City||NC||1470|
|William Woods University||Fulton||MO||1479|
|Brooks College||Long Beach||CA||1618|
|International Academy of Design and Technology||Chicago||IL||1739|
|Ivy Tech Community College - Kokomo||Kokomo||IN||1812|
|Baker College of Owosso||Owosso||MI||1905|
|Baker College of Auburn Hills||Auburn Hills||MI||1910|
|Randolph Community College||Asheboro||NC||1951|
|Berkeley College||West Paterson||NJ||1994|
|Art Institute of Colorado||Denver||CO||2090|
|Newbury College - Brookline||Brookline||MA||2152|
|Alexandria Technical College||Alexandria||MN||2192|
|College of Mount St. Joseph||Cincinnati||OH||2221|
|Western Piedmont Community College||Morganton||NC||2248|
|Mid Michigan Community College||Harrison||MI||2316|
|Art Institute Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||PA||2497|
|New York Institute of Technology - Manhattan Campus||New York||NY||2501|
|Baker College of Clinton Township||Clinton Township||MI||2559|
|Art Institute of Seattle||Seattle||WA||2561|
|Chaminade University of Honolulu||Honolulu||HI||2620|
|Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Los Angeles||Los Angeles||CA||2648|
|New England Institute of Technology||Warwick||RI||2712|
|Baker College of Muskegon||Muskegon||MI||2727|
|University of Minnesota - Crookston||Crookston||MN||2775|
|High Point University||High Point||NC||2788|
|Northeast Mississippi Community College||Booneville||MS||2796|
|Maryville University of Saint Louis||Saint Louis||MO||3055|
|Dakota County Technical College||Rosemount||MN||3086|
|Wentworth Institute of Technology||Boston||MA||3187|
|Ivy Tech Community College - Southwest||Evansville||IN||3448|
|Ivy Tech Community College - Northcentral||South Bend||IN||3475|
|Santa Fe Community College||Santa Fe||NM||3606|
|University of the Incarnate Word||San Antonio||TX||3702|