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Distance learning interior design programs are available at the master's degree level. Interior design may also be offered as a specialization within a master's program in architecture or family and consumer science. In an interior design program, students learn to apply imaginative concepts to residential, commercial and retail spaces. Theory, process and studio work are usually emphasized as well. In addition, a distance learning master's degree program may include a practical experience and typically culminates in a thesis. To be admitted to such a degree, students will generally need a portfolio of their work and may need to have completed some prerequisite classes.
At the graduate level, programs can range from 37 to 79 credit hours, depending on a student's previous level of design education. Course topics may cover:
- Design vocabulary
- Conceiving and researching new ideas
- Analyzing, evaluating and presenting ideas
- Spatial concepts and visual perception
- Lighting effects
- Furniture arrangement
- Architectural elements
- Color symbolism
- Sample boards
- Computer graphics
Who Is This Program For?
To enroll in a master's degree program in interior design, students may need to have completed a bachelor's degree in interior design or architecture. As part of the application process, interested students may be required to submit a portfolio demonstrating their work. Students with no design experience may need to take prerequisite courses, which may be required to be completed on campus.
Online Learning Details
Upon registering, students get a certain time limit to complete coursework. They use media players that can be downloaded for free and presentation graphics programs that are commonly packaged with new computers. They generally need up-to-date, fast operating systems, adequate disk space, true-color monitors and CD-ROM drives.
Effective online learners can identify and troubleshoot minor technical problems. The learning environment may be interactive, and students need to write clearly in order to communicate with instructors via email. Videoconferencing and chat room sessions may also be integrated into the online learning experience.
Interior designers don't just decorate. Believing that 'form follows function,' a good designer considers a space's dimensions, construction, meaning, lighting and access, as well as health, safety and any special needs of those who enjoy the space.
In addition to working for design firms, interior designers may be self-employed. They may act as consultants in a variety of industries, including:
- Home remodeling and construction
- Commercial real estate
- Hospitals and other health-care providers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) pointed out that overall jobs for interior designers were predicted to grow 4 percent from 2014-2024. Employment within specialty design firms was predicted to grow by 8 percent. Designers who focus on a niche, such as kitchens, may do well. In addition, opportunities are often best within wealthier communities. (www.bls.gov).
Online master's degree programs in interior design are offered on their own or specializations within closely-related programs. Students gain a broad understanding of design concepts and develop their own skills and interests or specialize in a specific area of interior design.