Bachelor of Interior Design: Degree Overview
A bachelor's degree program in interior design provides students the skills to design interior spaces. Students receive classroom instruction and complete hands-on training through internships or design projects.
Bachelor's Degree in Interior Design
Students who earn bachelor's degrees in interior design learn how to create aesthetic and functional indoor spaces. They study basic art and design concepts, human behavior, eco-design and computer applications. Depending on the school, graduates receive a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in interior design. Some programs are part of a university's architecture department.
Students need a high school education to gain entry into an interior design bachelor's degree program. Although portfolios aren't typically for admission, a portfolio review at the end of the student's first year may be required to determine whether the student is eligible to continue in the program.
Undergraduate interior design classes teach students how to develop new ideas and use computer-aided design software. Participants learn about spatial arrangement and how social, emotional and physical influences affect design. They analyze lighting, sound, temperature and indoor air quality, in addition to selecting furniture, fixtures, wall treatments, flooring and materials. Understanding the laws, codes and norms for interior design is also taught.
Some schools allow students to choose concentrations in specific types of design, such as sustainable design or historical preservation. Internships and design projects are usually part of the curriculum. Upon completion, students have created a portfolio that they can use to obtain entry-level employment. Typical interior design courses include:
- Computer-aided design (CAD)
- Interior design theories
- Drafting for interior design
- Design problems
- Interior design history
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that interior designer jobs would increase 19% during the 2010-2020 decade (www.bls.gov). In addition to homeowners, businesses also hire interior designers and tend to budget so they may employ these professionals periodically to update their company's aesthetic appearance, increase its relation to their brand, or make it more environmentally accommodating.
Even so, job prospects tend to be more favorable in wealthier geographic areas, as homeowners with more disposable income are more prone to renovating or redecorating their homes. The BLS reports that in May of 2012, the average annual salary for an interior designer was $52,970. Those working in the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York saw the highest wages at that time, earning more than $63,000 per year on average.
Some states require interior designers to obtain licensure. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification gives the licensing exam (www.ncidq.org). Eligible applicants have a minimum of six years of post-secondary education and professional experience. The exam only covers public safety issues.
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