Bachelor Degree in Interior DesignInterior designers decorate the interior of homes, offices and commercial spaces. They select the furniture, paint, and accessories that best complement the layout of building and ambient the client is trying to achieve. In additional to being experts in design, a good interior designers will know how to budget and estimate expenses, will be familiar with local building codes, and know how to plan and manage projects.
The interior design industry is projected to experience a significant amount of job growth, since more people are budgeting money to decorate their homes and offices than ever before. According to the BLS, annual median incomes for interior designers were over $45,000 during 2014. Successful interior designers, who build a name for themselves, can earn even more.
Given the complexity of the interior design industry, earning a degree in interior design is almost a prerequisite for working in the industry. Earning a bachelor degree in interior design, from an accredited school, is the quickest way to prepare for entry-level position and get your career off to a good start.
Earning an Accredited DegreeWhen considering interior design programs, you'll want to find a school that is regionally accredited and/or accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). A list of CIDA accredited bachelor degree programs in interior design can be found at http://accredit-id.org/accredited-programs/. CIDA accreditation ensures you that the interior design education you receive is up to date and meets all quality standards recognized by the profession.
Regional accreditation ensures that you'll not only receive an education that meets the highest quality standards but that you'll be able to transfer credits earned to any other regionally accredited institution - which includes most major four year colleges and universities in the United States. If you think you might ever want to pursue a graduate degree in interior design, or any other field, then it's imperative you earn your bachelor's degree at a regionally accredited school or college.
Currently, there are about 150 professional-level (bachelor's or master's) interior design programs accredited by the Council for Interior Design and Accreditation. There are also 300 postsecondary colleges, universities and higher education institutions that offer design programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). NASAD is a reputable accreditation organization and interior design programs offered by NASAD accredited schools are typically very high quality. The National Kitchen and Bath Association accredits about 45 interior design programs that offer programs with special emphasis in kitchen and bath design.
Many interior design programs are offered at nationally accredited vocational school and colleges. While these schools may offer quality interior design programs, since they're not regionally accredited it may be difficult to qualify for a graduate program. Nationally accredited programs are recommended for students seeking a quality interior design education but who do not plan on pursuing additional higher education opportunities in the future.
As you evaluate different education programs, you'll want to be aware of, and steer clear of, degree and accreditation mills - commonly referred to as "diploma mills". These institution, while claiming to be legitimate, offer degrees and quality assurance that may not be valid or usable. In order to avoid loosing your money and earning a degree that is not valid, it's important that you be able to recognize these institutions. You can learn more about accreditation and diploma mills via The Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) on their website at http://chea.org/degreemills/default.htm.
The Online Bachelor's Degree in Interior DesignMany regionally accredited and CIDA accredited interior design programs now provide students the ability to earn their bachelor degree in interior design via distance learning. Some CIDA accredited schools, such as The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and Academy of Art University, offer bachelor's degrees in interior design that are offered entirely online. However, most schools offer students the ability to earn their degree via both distance learning and campus-based learning.
Online degree programs in interior design are ideal for (1) those already working in the interior design industry that are looking to earn a degree while as they develop their career and (2) non-traditional student who for whatever reason are unable to attend a traditional campus-based bachelor's degree program. However, don't be fooled. Just because online degree programs are convenient and flexible, they're not necessarily any easier than campus-based programs. In fact, many online programs are more demanding than their campus-based counterparts. Earning a degree online requires commitment and dedication. If you're not self motived, good at working on your own, or able to meet deadlines, then an online degree may not be the best option for you.
Curriculum and CourseworkThe bachelor's degree in interior design is typically a four year program that requires students to complete general education, core and elective courses. The mix of courses and requirements will vary slightly from school to school. However, most programs will cover the fundamentals of design, art, and architecture as they relate to interior spaces. While many programs don't have specific prerequisites, having experience in art, or a related discipline, is helpful when trying to get in to some of the more competitive interior design programs.
General education courses usually include science, math, English and business communications. Some schools also have a foreign language requirement as part of their general education. Core curriculum in most bachelor's level interior design programs addresses the history of design, selecting a theme, color and design theory, effective space utilization, and interior design for commercial buildings. Reputable interior design programs will encourage and help students to find internships with design, construction or architecture firms.
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