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Interior design is a blossoming degree program that is growing in popularity as both residential and commercial clients look to improve their physical spaces. Interior design currently counts as one of the best fields for creatives in terms of job stability and salary potential, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the median salary for these professionals at $51,500. Individuals interested in pursuing this profession should enroll in a program at a top school to ensure that they receive the best preparation for employment.
The following page provides a list of the best interior design schools in the nation. The list includes both on-campus and online programs. All of the programs on this list boast either national or regional accreditation, with many boasting interior design-specific accreditation. As such, you can rest assured that all of the schools on this list provide a degree that all employers recognize. To take the first step in your interior design career, read on to find the program that fits you the best.
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What are the best schools for Interior Design?
Graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design will be prepared to work in a variety of fields. These include both commercial and residential settings, as self-employed independent contractors or as employees of larger organizations.
If you have a good eye for color and design and are willing to work hard to satisfy clients, a degree in Interior Design might be the right choice for you. Obtaining a degree in Interior Design is not only beneficial to your career, but in some cases is actually a necessity. Many states require certification and the completion of qualifying exams and coursework. Associate degrees are offered by many schools, but Bachelor’s degrees offer an even better leg up on the competition. It’s worth the time spent studying! The average interior designer makes around $50,000 a year as a starting average salary.
So stop reading, and get designing! The colleges listed below are the top fifty colleges for studying interior design and will help you get a jump start on lifelong career success.
See our rankings methodology page.
New York School of Interior DesignLocation
New York, NYTuition
As a university that focuses exclusively on interior design, NYSID earns a deserved place among the best interior design schools in the U.S.A. The school’s BFA in interior design program blends the liberal arts with a professionally-focused interior design curriculum, requiring that students complete 132 credits, a process that usually takes eight semesters. Interesting program courses include kitchen and bath design, furniture design, and an architectural workshop. Students must also take an intensive course in either French or Italian. Students complete the program by creating and defending a thesis.
Savannah College of Art and DesignLocation
One of the best interior design schools in the South, SCAD offers a BFA in interior design program that requires students to earn 180 credits. As opposed to some peer programs, almost the entire curriculum focuses on art and design and includes studies in modern architecture, visual culture, drawing, and color theory. Students also complete six different interior design studio courses. The final two interior design studio courses serve as a capstone experience. Students can complete the BFA program at SCAD’s Savannah, Hong Kong, and Atlanta campuses.
George Washington UniversityLocation
GW’s BFA in interior architecture prides itself on its employment rate, placing 91% of its 2017 graduates in either design-related positions or graduate school. The program’s 120-credit curriculum includes relevant studies in graphic communications, sketching, modern architecture, and lighting and acoustics. All students must also complete a 120-hour internship in the field with a design agency. Students interested in earning the program’s prestigious Corcoran Scholarship must submit a portfolio of their previous work. Out of all top-ranked research universities, only three others apart from GW offer an undergraduate interior design program. As such, GW earns a place among the nation’s best interior design schools.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityLocation
One of the best interior design schools in the nation, Virginia Tech offers a pre-professional bachelor of science in interior design program that allows students plenty of studio time to learn about lighting, computer skills, historical interiors, and space planning in a hands-on way. The program’s curriculum includes studies in sustainable design and LEED, design appreciation, and interior design history. The program prides itself on placing graduates in professional settings such as corporations, architectural and design firms, and space planning organizations. The program currently only accepts students for the fall semester and maintains small cohorts each year, so admission is often competitive.
Parsons School of DesignLocation
New York, NYTuition
One of the biggest names in the art world, Parsons also earns a place among the best colleges for interior design. The school’s BFA in interior design program requires students to complete 120 credits, an undertaking that requires the typical four years. Transfer credits may bring up to 60 credits with them. The curriculum includes coursework in foundational areas such as drawing, materiality and assembly, and design studios. The curriculum includes a capstone course in which students complete a final studio project synthesizing everything they learn in the program.
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