Bachelor of Arts (BA): Interior Design Degree Overview
Read about the curriculum and requirements of an interior design bachelor of arts program. Discover the employment options and the possible licensing requirements for those entering this field.
A Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design program typically teaches students methods for executing creative design solutions in a variety of residential and commercial spaces. Students learn to create 3-D designs and to communicate them through the use of visual media. Throughout their studies, students participate in design studio sessions where they work to solve design issues for a variety of settings. Completion of a high school diploma or a GED generally is required for admission to such programs.
From architectural history to methods and materials, courses in an interior design program can help students create rooms that meet their client's specifications. Common courses include:
- Design rendering
- Floor plan development
- Color and composition
- Interior lighting
- Interior design graphics
- Environmental technology
- Contract documents
- Global design interface
A bachelor's degree in interior design is usually the minimum education required for individuals who want to become interior designers. These programs can prepare graduates for careers in several areas of interior design. Popular specialties within the field include:
- Residential designer
- Home theater designer
- Kitchen designer
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment opportunities for interior designers will rise by 13% during the 2012-2022 decade, which is about average compared to all occupations. In 2013, the BLS reports, the middle half of interior designers earned from $35,290 to $67,110 per year. The highest-paying states for interior designers at that time included the District of Columbia, New York and Massachusetts.
Continuing Education and Professional Credentials
Those who seek further education might pursue a Master of Arts in Interior Design. These 2-year programs often require that students complete an internship, meet research requirements and complete a thesis in order to graduate.
The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) administers the exam to qualify interior designers for licensure in states that require it. The exam covers topics like building codes and project coordination and includes a full-day test of an interior designer's skills (www.ncidq.org). Students must have at least six years of combined education and professional experience to qualify for the exam.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) offers voluntary certification at multiple levels for professionals who specialize in designing kitchen and bathroom spaces (www.nkba.org). Options include Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer, Certified Kitchen Designer and Certified Bath Designer.
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