Finding the Best School for Becoming an Interior Designer
For most entry-level interior design jobs, you’ll need to have a four-year bachelor’s degree. There may be some exceptions, and a few employers may be willing to take on and train a new designer, but generally a post-secondary degree is needed for foundational knowledge.
To get started on a great creative career in interior design, you’ll need to find a good school. There are a lot of factors to consider, so learning more about schools and programs for interior design is important.
Degrees for Interior Designers
Each state has its own rules and regulations for how interior designers are certified or licensed, but in general there is some post-secondary education requirement. Usually this means that you need to earn a bachelor’s degree to get into the interior design field. These programs include important courses with skills that designers need to have: computer-aided design (CAD), drawing, design, color theory, architecture and more.
You may choose to start out with a certificate or two-year associate’s degree. This can be a more affordable way to begin your career in interior design. It allows you to get a better sense of whether it’s the right career for you and gives you a basic education in design.
Types of Schools for Studying Interior Design
Not all schools offer interior design programs, but you still have a lot of options. You don’t have to turn to a typical, large four-year university; there are other choices to consider:
- Community Colleges. At a community college with a design program, you may be able to earn a certificate or a two-year associate’s degree. You can also choose to take just one or two courses in art, CAD, design basics or other related subjects. While some employers may take on new designers with associate’s degrees, you may also be able to transfer credits to a four-year program.
- Four-Year Universities. Many traditional colleges that offer four-year degrees have interior design programs. They may be part of the architecture or the art and design department. The courses will prepare you to begin working as a designer after graduation. Expect to take typical classes but also to participate in hands-on training and design projects.
- Art Schools. Art schools are colleges that offer many different art-related subjects, including design. An art school has much more than just programs in fine arts, like drawing and painting. You may be able to find associate’s and bachelor degree programs at these schools.
- Design Schools. Even more specialized are design or art and design schools. These schools focus on all types of design careers. Most will offer four-year degrees in interior design. A benefit of a specialty school like this is that there are great opportunities for networking with people in the industry.
Top Interior Design Schools
Factors like location and tuition costs may be most important to you, but if you’re just looking for the best, there are some top-notch schools known for their interior design programs:
- New York School of Interior Design. New York is a great location to get into a design career, and this school is one of the best in the country. It focuses solely on interior design and even offers graduate degrees. More than 90 percent of graduates find employment.
- Rhode Island School of Design. Located in Providence, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is one of the most prestigious design schools in the U.S. and one of the oldest. It offers both art and design programs.
- Parsons School of Design. Situated within the New School in New York, Parsons is a renowned design school. It provides students with the latest equipment and technology and teaches with project-based learning.
- Savannah College of Art and Design. This world-famous school has additional campuses in Atlanta, Georgia, and Hong Kong. Admittance is competitive and tuition is pricey, but the education is among the best you can get for interior design.
Choosing a school for becoming an interior designer is a big and important step. It means you’re ready to begin your new and fulfilling creative career. Look for schools with tuition you can afford, the degree you want and that will offer a great education, and you can’t go wrong.