If you thought interior design is all about picking pretty colors and fabrics, you couldn’t be more wrong. While you need to have a knack for color and fabrics, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The most significant step to becoming a great interior designer actually involves attending interior design school.
You have a wide range of options. For instance, some people begin by completing programs related to interior design, such as visual arts, engineering, or design, then pursue interior design afterward. Alternatively, you can pursue a diploma in interior design and climb up the ladder. Meanwhile, get right to it by enrolling for a bachelor’s degree in interior design.
Whichever approach you choose, over 100 colleges and universities offer interior design schools accredited by the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research. In total, there are more than 300 interior design universities and college programs in the US.
What You Should Know About Interior Design School
The following is everything you need to know about interior design school to help you pick the best school for your education.
1. Types of programs
The first thing you want to know is that there are different paths to becoming a professional interior designer. However, assuming you want to jump right into it, one of the best places to start is getting a certificate or an associate degree in interior design. Both have no formal enrollment requirements and typically take three years of coursework. Once you’re done, you can work in entry-level positions under a more experienced interior designer.
However, if you passed high school, you can enroll for a bachelor’s degree in interior design. Anyone with a diploma or associate certificate may also enroll in an undergraduate program in interior design. After undergrad, you can proceed to get a Master’s and even a Doctorate in interior design.
2. Online vs. physical learning
Once you’ve selected the best educational path to get you started on your interior design career, the next step is to consider whether the program is offered online, offline, or both. Online learning is best suited to people who can’t make it to campus. For example, perhaps you want to attend a college or university in a different state without relocating. Or maybe you’re also working, thus can’t attend class physically.
The main downside of online learning is that learners don’t get one-on-one sessions with lecturers. Everything is done via the internet. However, you also want to check closely as some interior design programs are offered exclusively online or offline.
3. Time and cost
Typically, certificate and associate graduate programs take two to three years to complete. The exact time differs from one institution to the next and is primarily influenced by coursework duration. In many cases, diploma programs will last three years while certificates last two years. Bachelors programs take four years in many universities, while Masters and PhDs typically take two to three years.
Unfortunately, costs vary widely. Of course, certificate and associate graduate programs are cheaper, typically costing in the range of $4,000 to $6,000. However, degrees cost a lot more. A Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design at the University of Kentucky, for instance, costs as much as $29,000 for out-of-state students, according to Study.com
4. Core course components
The other thing you want to know about interior design schools is the core course components. What are the main topics in interior design school? Although courses vary from one institution to the next and depending on the level of education, the core coursework remains consistent in most interior design schools.
For instance, all interior design programs teach color theory, computer-aided drafting, and creating specifications for interior construction. All the programs also teach ethics, graphic communication, and the business aspects of interior design. Other courses to expect are interior design lighting, lighting, finishes, and space planning.
5. Facilities and academic support
Finally, it also helps to know about facilities in design school and the kind of educational support you can expect during your time at the school. Most design schools have 40+ students per classroom and different lecturers for different courses. All design schools also have good library services with a wide range of valuable books on and around the subject area. You can also expect equipped computer labs for 2D and 3D design, among others.
Educational support structures vary too. For instance, some design schools have excellent internship programs to help students get the first-hand experience. Some are even connected enough to offer direct paths to employment.
It’s Your Choice
The most important thing is making the right decision. Which design school do you want to attend and why? If you can make the right choice, your path to becoming a successful interior designer will be smooth.