Bachelor of Interior Design: Degree Overview

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, ecodesign and computer applications.

Essential Information

In a four-year Bachelor of Interior Design program, students receive classroom instruction and complete hands-on training through internships or design projects, often as part of a university's architecture department. Depending on the school, graduates receive a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in interior design. Some schools allow students to choose concentrations in specific types of design, such as sustainable design or historical preservation. 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.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Degree Programs for Interior Design: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science
  • Specializations: Sustainable design or historical preservation
  • Other Requirements: Internship and portfolio

Bachelor of Interior Design

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. The laws, codes and norms for interior design are also taught. 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 and drafting for interior design
  • Computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Interior design theories
  • Lighting and 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 to 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 2014, the average annual salary for an interior designer was $48,400. Those working in the California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois saw the highest wages at that time, earning more than $57,000 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 ( Eligible applicants have a minimum of six years of postsecondary education and professional experience. The exam only covers public safety issues.

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