How do I get an Interior Design Education?

Dee S.
Dee S.

Although anyone can have an eye for interior design, it takes a proper education to become a professional interior designer. A formal interior design education is required for many entry-level positions. In addition, many colleges and universities across the globe offer specific programs that are geared to give students a solid interior design education. Consequently, the first step is finding an accredited program.

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

Finding an accredited program ensures that the interior design education at a particular school is of the highest caliber. Some accredited programs only last for two years, while others are four-year programs. There are options at large universities, small liberal arts colleges, and at art schools across the globe. There are even opportunities for receiving an interior design education online. Programs can be found across the globe from the United States and Canada to the United Kingdom and India.

Before making the final decision on which school is the right fit, it is important to research the various programs. Look at what kind of design a particular school specializes in and its accreditation. Consider tuition expenses and living expenses, as well. It is sometimes helpful to speak with member of the faculty of each of the schools about coursework, classes, and the teaching philosophy of the program. Learning more about the graduates, such as how many students graduate on time and the graduates’ rate of employment in the field of interior design, is also very informative.

An online interior design education is not unheard of, and there are some good programs available. Make sure that the online program offers more than a basic education. A basic education will not prepare an interior design student with the knowledge necessary to sit for the exam or to obtain a license in interior design.

As part of the educational process, it is important to find an internship with a design firm. In addition, after graduating from school, it is important to complete an apprenticeship at a design firm. Most apprenticeships last from one to three years. Both the internship and the apprenticeship provide valuable hands-on experience.

After receiving a formal interior design education and working for a few years, it is time to sit for the interior design exam. Passing the exam gives the student professional status and will increase her pay and status in the interior design community. There are several ways that a candidate can qualify to sit for the exam. A candidate can receive four or more years of interior design education and two years work experience, or receive three years of education and three years of work experience. Another way to qualify include receiving two years of education and four years of work experience. After passing the exam, check to see if the state, province, or country regulates interior designers. If so, it may be necessary to obtain a local license or register locally.

Dee S.
Dee S.

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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