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.
|William Woods University||Fulton||MO||1479|
|Western Wisconsin Technical College||La Crosse||WI||4928|
|Western Piedmont Community College||Morganton||NC||2248|
|Western Michigan University||Kalamazoo||MI||28657|
|Western Carolina University||Cullowhee||NC||6699|
|Wentworth Institute of Technology||Boston||MA||3187|
|Weber State University||Ogden||UT||16050|
|Wayne County Community College District||Detroit||MI||9008|
|Waukesha County Technical College||Pewaukee||WI||7943|
|Watkins College of Art and Design||Nashville||TN||338|
|Virginia Marti College of Art and Design||Lakewood||OH||181|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||Richmond||VA||24066|
|Villa Maria College Buffalo||Buffalo||NY||405|
|Utah State University||Logan||UT||21490|
|Ursuline College||Pepper Pike||OH||1252|
|University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point||Stevens Point||WI||8757|
|University of Wisconsin - Madison||Madison||WI||40658|
|University of the Incarnate Word||San Antonio||TX||3702|
|University of San Francisco||San Francisco||CA||7917|
|University of Oklahoma Norman Campus||Norman||OK||24205|
|University of Northern Iowa||Cedar Falls||IA||14106|
|University of North Carolina at Greensboro||Greensboro||NC||13125|
|University of Minnesota - Twin Cities||Minneapolis||MN||45481|
|University of Minnesota - Crookston||Crookston||MN||2775|
|University of Massachusetts - Amherst||Amherst||MA||24416|
|University of Louisville||Louisville||KY||19771|
|University of Kentucky||Lexington||KY||23114|
|University of Florida||Gainesville||FL||45114|
|University of Cincinnati - Main Campus||Cincinnati||OH||27327|
|University of Charleston||Charleston||WV||1096|
|University of Central Oklahoma||Edmond||OK||14099|
|University of Arizona||Tucson||AZ||34488|
|Tulsa Community College||Tulsa||OK||16270|
|Tidewater Community College||Norfolk||VA||20184|
|The University of Texas at Austin||Austin||TX||49996|
|The University of Tennessee||Knoxville||TN||25890|
|The University of Alabama||Tuscaloosa||AL||19277|
|The Illinois Institute of Art||Chicago||IL||1395|
|The Art Institutes International Minnesota||Minneapolis||MN||760|
|The Art Institute of Portland||Portland||OR||666|
|The Art Institute of Atlanta||Atlanta||GA||934|
|Spokane Falls Community College||Spokane||WA||9872|
|Southern Illinois University Carbondale||Carbondale||IL||22552|
|South Dakota State University||Brookings||SD||8695|
|School of Visual Arts||New York||NY||5286|
|Savannah College of Art and Design||Savannah||GA||4923|
|Santa Fe Community College||Santa Fe||NM||3606|
|San Jose State University||San Jose||CA||26698|
|San Jacinto College - Central Campus||Pasadena||TX||10507|
|San Diego Mesa College||San Diego||CA||21233|
|Salem College||Winston Salem||NC||1027|
|Saint Louis Community College - Meramec||Kirkwood||MO||12518|
|Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design||Lakewood||CO||410|
|Ringling School of Art and Design||Sarasota||FL||958|
|Randolph Community College||Asheboro||NC||1951|
|Pratt Institute - Main||Brooklyn||NY||4272|
|Portland Community College||Portland||OR||24209|
|Pikes Peak Community College||Colorado Springs||CO||9997|
|Pennsylvania College of Art and Design||Lancaster||PA||191|
|Pellissippi State Technical Community College||Knoxville||TN||7859|
|Patricia Stevens College||Saint Louis||MO||122|
|Pasadena City College||Pasadena||CA||22948|
|Pacific Union College||Angwin||CA||1468|
|Oregon State University||Corvallis||OR||16758|
|Omore College of Design||Franklin||TN||148|
|Ohio State University - Main Campus||Columbus||OH||47952|
|Northern Virginia Community College||Annandale||VA||37073|
|Northern Arizona University||Flagstaff||AZ||19964|
|Northeast Mississippi Community College||Booneville||MS||2796|
|North Harris Montgomery Community College District||The Woodlands||TX||24554|
|North Dakota State University - Main Campus||Fargo||ND||9902|
|Newbury College - Brookline||Brookline||MA||2152|
|New York Institute of Technology - Old Westbury||Old Westbury||NY||5898|
|New York Institute of Technology - Manhattan Campus||New York||NY||2501|
|New England Institute of Technology||Warwick||RI||2712|
|Mount Mary College||Milwaukee||WI||1246|
|Mount Ida College||Newton||MA||1196|
|Moore College of Art and Design||Philadelphia||PA||573|
|Milwaukee Area Technical College||Milwaukee||WI||14296|
|Middle Tennessee State University||Murfreesboro||TN||19121|
|Mid Michigan Community College||Harrison||MI||2316|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing||MI||43366|
|Massachusetts Bay Community College||Wellesley Hills||MA||4458|
|Maryville University of Saint Louis||Saint Louis||MO||3055|
|Marymount College of Fordham University||Tarrytown||NY||938|
|Madison Area Technical College||Madison||WI||14474|
|Louisville Technical Institute||Louisville||KY||612|