Although there are no master's degree programs specifically in interior decorating, interior design programs cover similar principles. These programs offer advanced instruction in design theories, architecture, digital design and business practices. In addition to theoretical coursework, students in these programs can expect to gain hands-on experience through an internship. Prior to graduation, they submit a portfolio of work. Most programs take 1.5 to 2 years to complete, and some are offered online.
Most colleges offering master's degree programs in interior design require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree or a related area of art, architecture, or design. Other common requirements include job experience, professional references and an admissions essay outlining the applicant's career goals.
Master's Degree in Interior Design
In an interior design graduate degree program, students are taught the fundamentals of interior design through academic instruction, project management practice and studio presentations. Students learn to utilize digital media to draft interior designs in hotels, healthcare facilities, private homes and the workplace. The degree program also offers courses that examine code-compliant design, the materials used when creating interiors, advanced art topics and business concerns for those wanting to run their own design firms. Other subject areas include lighting, decorating, materials, furnishings and construction. Possible course titles include:
- Textiles and drafting
- Building codes
- Interior architecture and art history
- Lighting design
- Business management
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were 51,050 interior designers employed in 2015, and this number was expected to increase by 4% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, interior designers earned an annual median salary of $48,840 in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of master's degree programs in interior design may seek professional certification by taking the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination. Consisting of three parts, the examination is open to interior designers with a combination of qualifying education and work experience. The NCIDQ also offers an Interior Design Experience Program (IDEP) in which entry-level interior designers receive career assistance and mentorships from professionals in the field. Participants in the IDEP program are also guided through the process of passing the NCIDQ examination.
Aspiring interior decorators can get the advanced design and business training they need for success in the field by earning a master's degree in interior design.