How do I get an Associate's Degree in Interior Design?

Meghan Perry
Meghan Perry
A mortarboard and diploma for an associate's degree in interior design.
A mortarboard and diploma for an associate's degree in interior design.

There are two ways to get an associate's degree in interior design. Attending a two-year program at a college or university is one way; enrolling in an online program is another. Online programs generally allow for more flexibility, because students can work toward their degree at their own pace. This is useful for people who may already have full-time jobs and are unable to also attend school full-time. On-campus courses and programs generally follow a stricter timeline, and graduates often finish their degree in two years.

A home decorated by an interior designer.
A home decorated by an interior designer.

An associate's degree in interior design generally prepares students to be interior designers, interior decorators, or visual merchandisers. The coursework for an associate's degree in interior design is highly focused on design concepts and giving students a strong background in the history of interior design and the different types of design, visual coursework, and technological coursework. There are a variety of courses required to complete an associate's degree in interior design. Some of these courses could include, but are not limited to, design process, contract design, universal design, introduction to drafting, history of furniture and interior design, and fundamentals of design.

In addition, students often learn about computer applications, because technology is becoming increasingly important in the field. Knowledge of acoustics and color coordination is also important in interior design. The differences in residential and commercial properties, as well as the regulations for each, are also important for a student to learn while getting an associate's degree in interior design.

An associate's degree in interior design can be pursued online. The greater flexibility an online degree program can offer means completing the degree online may take anywhere from two to four years, even though an associate's degree is considered a two-year degree. Generally, those with an associate's degree are prepared for entry-level positions and often start out as assistants to interior designers. Bachelor's degrees in the field are becoming more and more common and may continue to grow in importance as the field becomes more competitive.

While anyone can study for an associate's degree in interior design, some intangibles, such as creativity, must be present in the person studying for the degree. The goal of an interior designer is to make a dull space into a welcoming space, whether that be in an office environment or in a home. Interior designers can focus on either commercial or residential properties, but they may also specialize even more. Some interior designers focus specifically on kitchens, bathrooms, or bedrooms, rather than the whole property. Studying for an associate's degree in interior design allows one to explore different opportunities in the field.

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    • A mortarboard and diploma for an associate's degree in interior design.
      A mortarboard and diploma for an associate's degree in interior design.
    • A home decorated by an interior designer.
      A home decorated by an interior designer.