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Bachelor of Interior Design: Degree Overview

Read about the curriculum and requirements of an interior design bachelor's degree program. Learn about the employment outlook and licensure requirements.

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Essential Information

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. Students receive classroom instruction and complete hands-on training through internships or design projects, often as part of a university's architecture department. Reviews of personal work portfolios may be required in order to progress through programs. Depending on the school, graduates receive a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in interior design.

Education Prerequisites

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.

Course Topics

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:

  • Drawing
  • Computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Interior design theories
  • Drafting for interior design
  • Lighting
  • Textiles
  • 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 13% during the 2012-2022 decade, which represents about-average growth. 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 2013, the average annual salary for an interior designer was $54,200. Those working in the District of Columbia, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York saw the highest wages at that time, earning more than $62,000 per year on average.

Continuing Education

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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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor

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  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Graphic Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Fashion Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Alabama (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Alabama include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Iowa (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Iowa State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Fashion Design
        • General Visual Communications Design
        • Graphic Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Tennessee include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Advertising and Commercial Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Advertising and Commercial Design
        • General Visual Communications Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Florida State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Graphic Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Texas (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Baylor University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Fashion Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Kentucky include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts

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