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Everything You Need to Know About Interior Design Schools

Knowing what to expect is essential if considering enrolling in a design program. Interior design programs usually include courses in drawing and sketching, computer-aided design (CAD), drafting, and space planning.

Interior Design Schools

Most design schools will also require students to complete an internship or practicum in their curriculum. Depending on the school, this can take several months to several years.

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree in interior design will help you develop the technical, aesthetic, and business skills you need to excel as a designer. Many programs will also require you to complete an internship or practicum to gain real-world experience in the field and build your portfolio.

When choosing a bachelor’s degree program in many interior design schools near me, consider its reputation and how well it will prepare you for your career. For example, a school is one of the country’s most prestigious art and design schools. It offers degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s levels, and it is known for attracting students from other disciplines.

You should also choose a program that will offer a variety of courses in both the theoretical and practical aspects of the industry. For example, the University of Cincinnati’s program includes courses in design theory and history, studio art, and technical drawing. In addition, students can take part in an internship or study abroad program.

Another option is to pursue a graduate degree in interior design. Many top-ranked interior design schools offer master’s degree programs, which allow you to explore your creativity further and focus on a particular aspect of the field. For example, NYSID provides a two-year, full-time Master of Fine Arts in Design for Healthcare Environments. This unique program allows students to learn from professionals, including healthcare designers, engineers, Capital Projects team members at healthcare institutions, and healthcare environment researchers.

Associate’s Degree

An associate’s degree in interior design is an excellent option for those who need more time to be ready to commit to a bachelor’s program or who want to learn the basics of this fast-growing field. These programs offer a more focused education on the technical and aesthetic skills needed to succeed in the industry. Some programs even include a 12-credit hour internship and the opportunity to prepare a senior thesis. Look for an Associate program incorporating architecture, which is becoming increasingly relevant to the profession.

Students in an Associate program can expect to take courses on lighting specialty, space planning, drawing and sketching, interior design theory, building systems, furniture technology, and drafting. Depending on the school, these programs may also cover contract documents, project management, and human factors/ergonomics.

Some schools specialize in preparing graduates for particular career paths, such as residential or commercial design. They may also partner with specific corporations, like a local real estate firm or hotel chain. This allows graduates to gain valuable work experience and connections that can help them find a job after graduation.

Other programs are ranked among the country’s best by publications focusing on education, faculty, and student outcomes. For example, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) regularly appears on top-ranking lists for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in interior design. In addition to a solid academic program, SCAD offers access to showrooms, galleries, and museums throughout New York City. This allows students to collaborate with other designers and artists, fostering creativity and innovation.


If you want to explore your interest in interior design but need more time or financial commitment to a degree program, consider taking a certificate. This is an excellent option for beginners who want to build a professional portfolio and gain valuable experience. Look for programs that CIDA or similar organizations accredit, as this is a mark of quality in the industry.

The top interior design schools have a range of programs, including certificates. Many have an interdisciplinary approach that allows students to collaborate with designers from different expertise and backgrounds. This helps them build a diverse and well-rounded skillset that can make them more marketable in the industry.

Ideally, it would help if you were looking for a school that offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in interior design. Then, you can choose the level best suited to your career goals and interests. Bachelor’s degrees are typically for those interested in a wide range of specialties within the interior design field, while master’s and doctoral programs are generally for those who have identified an area they are most passionate about.

The best interior design schools will be at the forefront of technology and design, so you should look for a program that includes digital design and modeling and hands-on experiential learning through internships or apprenticeships. It would help if you also were looking for a program focused on design research that will allow you to create your project based on a real-life client challenge or issue.

Continuing Education

If you are still deciding whether to commit to a bachelor’s degree program, an associate’s program can provide you with the skills and education needed for a career in interior design. Courses typically include a foundation-level understanding of the technical and aesthetic principles that govern space planning, drafting, lighting, and materials. Some programs offer internships or other opportunities for real-world experience.

While most students complete a bachelor’s degree program to become licensed interior designers, an associate’s degree can help you get started or provide transferable credits. Many colleges also offer continuing education courses for experienced professionals who want to sharpen their design skills and advance their careers.

The best interior design schools are known for their faculty’s talent and dedication, cutting-edge technology, and learning resources that prepare students to enter the industry confidently. SCAD’s faculty includes practicing interior designers with extensive professional experience. Their backgrounds and expertise span various areas, from architectural design to furniture design.

SCAD offers an online bachelor’s and master’s degree program. Its curriculum emphasizes conceptual, theoretical, and practical teaching. The school’s tutoring is designed to emulate a real-world studio, and students are often given practical tasks to work on in small teams. It is the only online interior design college to pair every student with a working designer who serves as their mentor throughout their program.