Methodology:Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following four criteria for the specific subject being ranked:
- Offer a degree or certificate program in that subject, either in an online or hybrid format
- Have at least 1% of students attending some form of distance education
- Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2015-16
- Have reported data for all 11 ranking variables listed below
2.Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered via distance education at any level: 12.5%
3.Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment: 12.5%
4.Average in-state tuition for undergraduates: 12.5%
5.Graduation rate: 7.5%
6.Retention rate: 10%
7.The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Prepaid, Guaranteed, Other): 4%
c .Guaranteed: 1%
8.Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers): 2%
b.Placement for Completers: 1%
9.Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military): 4%
10.Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid: 5%
11.Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students: 5%
All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design Online, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, https://www.rmcad.edu/program/online/interior-design-school-online/
- Interior Design, San Joaquin Delta College, https://www.deltacollege.edu/div/finearts/InteriorDesign.html
- Online Interior Architecture & Design Degree Programs, Academy of Art University, https://www.academyart.edu/academics/interior-architecture/online
- Interior Design A.S. Degree, Penn Foster College, Accessed March 2018, https://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/home-and-garden/interior-design-associate-degree
- Interior Design, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division, Accessed March 2018, https://www.artinstitutes.edu/online/academics/interior-design
- MS in Architecture: Specialization in Interior Design, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Accessed March 2018, https://architecture.unl.edu/degree-programs/interior-design/ms-architecture-specialization-interior-design
- M.A. in Interior Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, Accessed March 2018, https://www.scad.edu/academics/programs/interior-design/degrees/ma
- Doctor of Interior Design (PhD), Atlantic International University, Accessed March 2018, https://www.aiu.edu/Doctor-of-Interior-Design.html
- Interior Designers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed March 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/interior-designers.htm#tab-1
- What Are the Education Requirements of a Visual Merchandising Career?, Learn.org, Accessed March 2018, https://learn.org/articles/What_are_the_Education_Requirements_for_a_Career_in_Visual_Merchandising.html
- Industrial Designers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed March 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/industrial-designers.htm#tab-1
- Postsecondary Architecture Teachers, OwlGuru.com, Accessed March 2018, http://www.owlguru.com/career/architecture-teachers-postsecondary/
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2018, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
From private homes to elegant public spaces, from palatial hotels to your favorite stores, many of the most striking and memorable building interiors are put together by professional interior designers. An interior designer plans and organizes practical yet aesthetically-pleasing interiors that serve an intended purpose, from boosting production to selling merchandise to creating a comfortable lifestyle.
Interior designers can find many intriguing opportunities for their careers, but it's difficult to get started in the field without first earning a degree. Online degree programs can be an especially convenient way to meet this requirement, as they can help cut down on commuting costs and work around your schedule.
Featured Online Colleges for Interior Design
Online degree programs for interior design are not exactly widespread, but they certainly do exist. On this list, we are featuring a few of the accredited online colleges that offer degree programs in online or hybrid format for this intricate subject.
Academy of Art University
San Joaquin Delta College
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
Degree Overview: Interior Design
The creation of a living or working space takes more than just color, light and materials; that's why interior design degree programs are so important. Let's take a look at what kinds of things student may learn by completing these degree programs.
Online Interior Design Courses
Undergraduate interior design studies are likely to guide you through the entry-level fundamentals, such as color theory, CAD (computer-aided drawing) software, building systems, safety codes, textiles, lighting, construction, marketing and both residential and commercial design. Though these courses are common for both associate and bachelor's degree programs, you may find that a bachelor's program can include additional courses on the topics of sustainability, barrier-free design, the psychology of design, and much more. Some programs may even offer specializations in the design of certain interiors, including office spaces, kitchens or bathrooms.
Master's degree programs in interior design can help graduate students to examine topics and skills from their undergraduate program in more depth. For example, while a bachelor's student might study lighting as a design element, a master's student might learn about the physiological or psychological impact that light can have on the people working or living in a space. Graduate programs may offer in-depth courses in architectural studies, research methods, contemporary issues, environmental psychology, emerging materials, and the history of design from various perspectives. Often, these programs help students integrate their skills into professional practice through hands-on experience in field work or internships.
Finally, Ph.D. programs in Interior Design often aim to prepare graduates for high-level consultation, academic, or leadership positions through flexible coursework that helps them meet their individual professional goals. These programs may include courses on big-impact topics, like housing and neighborhood design, facility management, and accessibility, in the hope of equipping graduates with research skills they can use to make key contributions in their field.
Career-Related Skills to Develop
During their degree programs, interior design students should focus on developing the technical, creative and interpersonal skills necessary to design aesthetically-pleasing spaces that meet safety, accessibility and sustainability requirements. These skills include, but are not limited to the following:
- Design skills: Design skills aren't just about proportion, color, textiles, furnishings and lighting, although that is certainly part of it. Being able to design also includes being able to draft and render your design idea, as well as having knowledge of materials, building and safety codes, and sustainable practices.
- Problem Solving: Is a desired material out of stock? Are colors that looked complementary in the catalog not matching up as anticipated? Does building code require a redesign of the anticipated floorplan? These problems and more can arise to plague the interior designer, who must be able to decide upon quick, effective solutions so the designing can continue.
- Materials Knowledge: Select products and materials that are aesthetically appropriate for design solutions while also meeting standards of use, maintenance, sustainability and compliance.
- Building Systems: Produce solutions that correlate with building, environmental and property management systems, while also adhering to standards of use, maintenance and sustainability.
- Professionalism: It is vital for interior designers to maintain a standard of professionalism that meets the needs of clients and protects public health, safety and welfare in an ethical and legal manner. As many interior designers are self-employed, that professionalism can be the difference between struggling to bring in more business versus growing a loyal customer base.
Interior Designer Career Outlook
Though the majority of interior designers are self-employed, a bachelor's degree in the field is typically needed in order to be hired by a client.
Some employers may be willing to train on the job, while others may prefer an associate degree or certificate for an entry-level position.
Entry-level employment in this field almost always requires earning a bachelor's degree in Industrial Design, Engineering, Architecture, or a similar program. Prospective employees should also curate an electronic portfolio that features their best design projects.
Employers at four-year colleges and universities typically look for candidates who hold a Ph.D. in architecture or a related field, though a master's degree may meet the requirement for a postsecondary position at a community college.