Color is your thing. Style is your creed. Working with people is one of your strengths. You’re also great with numbers, have never missed a deadline and thrive under pressure. You’ve decided a career in interior design is exactly the right path for you. Now, time to find a good school, enroll and start taking interior design courses.
Two decisions need to be made right away: two year or four year degree; and CIDA accreditation. These decisions are really up to the taste, comfort level, time and finances of the individual, although there are some recommendations to consider. In the United States, most interior design industry leaders recommend a four year degree. CIDA accreditation (Council of Interior Design) is recommended too, though not required. Attending a CIDA school, however does guarantee that all the interior design courses within that program meet the needs of the professional.
As with most bachelor’s degree programs, general education courses such as history, math, social studies and English are a basic requirement. The rest of the curriculum is dedicated to interior design courses. For example, a four year bachelor of fine arts degree from The Art Institute ( a national organization with campuses all across the country) requires 188 credits, or 12 quarters. Those credits include interior design courses like computer-aided drafting and design, 3D design, space planning, problem solving, and the history of design and architecture. Writing courses, global economics and psychology are included in the curriculum as well. The Art Institute also offers a two year associate of applied science degree which requires 7 quarters or 112 credits.
Using a semester system, the Design Institute of San Diego requires 126 credits for a bachelor of fine arts in interior design. Of those credits, 36 are required to be taken as general education classes, and 90 as interior design courses. Design courses are introduced the very first semester, too, with classes such as Introduction to Interior Design, Architectural Drafting, Elements of Design, History of Interiors, etc., plus English composition.
Post graduate interior design courses are available as well. The University of California, Berkeley offers a certificate program in interior design and interior architecture for those already holding a four year degree. The certificate programs consists of 29 sequential courses in equal parts creative theory and practical training. The program is semester based and requires 77 units in which the student will learn traditional and new technologies, plus environmental issues, social issues, and sustainable design.
After a student graduates, he/she should take the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) exam. Passing the NCIDQ examination recognizes that a student meets the minimum competency standards to practice interior design. Taking the NCIDQ isn’t a requirement for employment, unless the state requires interior design professionals to be licensed, so every student should be familiar with his/her state’s regulations. Required or not, passing the NCIDQ does qualify the interior designer for membership in professional organizations, is a distinct accomplishment for the student, and can boost a designer’s reputation.