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.
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.
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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.
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.
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:
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.