Aspiring interior designers in Colorado can find associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs in the field. The programs focus on drawing, computer-aided design, construction, space planning and building a personal portfolio. Some programs offer specialty certificates, such as kitchen and bath design. There's also usually a class for practical application of material. No prior experience or special requirements are needed for admission to these programs.
Although six Colorado schools offer programs, the four outlined below are the only public and non-profit institutions. These schools prepare students to take the NCIDQ examination.
Arapahoe Community College
Littleton's Arapahoe Community College has an associate's degree program that's accredited by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). Future interior designers complete courses in sketching, interior design history, computer-aided design, residential/commercial design, textiles/finishes, drafting and lighting. Students also compile a portfolio of their best works and design a resume. Near the end of this program, students can sit for the Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBD) qualifying exam.
Colorado State University - Fort Collins
Located in Fort Collins, this school's Department of Design & Merchandising offers a bachelor's degree program that's accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). This program emphasizes technology, codes, space planning, problem solving, sustainable design and global perspectives. The department also offers a master's degree with a specialization in interior design that further prepares professionals for design practice or for teaching at postsecondary schools. Admittance to the graduate program requires a bachelor's degree in interior design or a related field, such as industrial design or architecture.
Front Range Community College
Front Range Community College's Larimer County campus, located in Fort Collins, has a 2-year program accredited by NKBA. This associate's degree program offers the choice between a 1-credit internship and a capstone project. Students who wish to earn an additional kitchen and bath certificate can complete a 4-credit internship. Required courses include architectural drafting, kitchen/bath design, computer-aided design, perspective/rendering techniques, details/codes/specifications, lighting and sustainable design.
Pikes Peak Community College
Colorado Springs-based Pikes Peak Community College offers an associate's degree in interior design. Many of the required courses in this program are similar to the other 2-year programs previously outlined. However, courses in drawing, color theory, commercial design, sustainable design, design portfolio and a 2-credit internship are optional electives. Students can also expect to complete a practicum and design capstone course.
Interior designers in Colorado are required to have either a 2-year degree with 4 years of experience or a 4-year degree with 2 years of experience. In addition, interior designers must pass the exam offered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Interior Design Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Arapahoe Community College||4-year public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design|| $3,918 in-state*
|Colorado State University - Fort Collins||4-year public; midsize city|| Bachelor of Science in Interior Design,
Master of Science in Design and Merchandising, Interior Design Specialization
| Undergraduate; $11,707 in-state*
Graduate; $12,495 in-state*
|Front Range Community College||2-year public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design|| $3,986 in-state*
|Pikes Peak Community College||4-year public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design|| $3,840 in-state*
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.