The best interior design schools can offer you a degree that focuses on architecture paired with creativity. As an interior designer, you have the opportunity to transform a person’s ordinary home into something spectacular. If you’re someone who loves meeting aesthetic goals while maximizing functional needs, this degree program is ideal for you.
We’ve curated a list of the ten interior design schools nationwide for prospective students in this guide. Each of these schools meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $20,000
- A median starting salary no lower than $37,000 after graduation
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
Best Interior Design Schools
1. Brigham Young University – Idaho
4 Year; Rexburg, ID
Average Annual Cost: $7,167
Brigham Young University – Idaho offers an exceptional interior design program that allows students to graduate with one of two degrees. You can enroll in the B.S. in Interior Design (420) program or the B.A. in Interior Design (425) program. Both degrees give you the necessary skills to become a well-rounded professional before entering the job market.
With a B.A. in Interior Design, students will focus on good design paired with finding solutions to common design problems. Most of your courses will assist you with implementing different processes to meet activities in home settings. One of the more interesting concepts of the B.A. degree is that it’s primarily designed for students with proficiency in a foreign language.
On the other hand, the B.S. program for this major is a good alternative for English proficient majors. The classes revolve around creating solutions to design problems to accommodate human activities and settings. There is a wide assortment of courses that you can take in both degree programs, including:
- Design Basics
- Introduction to Interior Design
- Perspective and Interpretive Drawing
- Color Theory
- Presentation Studio Skills
- Space Planning
- Three-Dimensional Design
As a school, Brigham Young University – Idaho boasts a 68% graduation rate, with students earning between $16,169 and $80,336 after graduation. Also, 72% of students return to the school after their first year to continue their degree program.
2. Bellevue College
4 Year; Bellevue, WA
Average Annual Cost: $7,870
Striving for an interior design degree at Bellevue College can open the door to many opportunities. Their program offers high-quality instruction paired with ample learning opportunities for students looking for a design profession. At this school, you’ll have the benefit of in-class instruction while also accessing some of the nation’s top facilities to complete your studies.
Interior design students at Bellevue College will work in computer labs using programs like Google SketchUp, Adobe Creative Suite, and large format scanners. There is also the potential of working in the wood and metal shops and the drawing labs. Undoubtedly, there is an endless supply of essential tools for you to use to further your education.
The central objective of the interior design program at this school is to give students a future-proof education. You’ll be able to access flexible learning pathways supported by industry-leading faculty members to learn about traditional and contemporary interior design. Also, you’ll focus on strengthening your written, oral, and visual communication during your studies.
Upon graduation, students from Bellevue College often earn between $32,213 and $65,974. With a graduation rate of 40%, it’s one of the better schools to enroll in for ample interior design opportunities.
3. Ohlone College
2 to 4 Year; Fremont, CA
Average Annual Cost: $8,776
The interior design department at Ohlone College is another fantastic solution for prospective students. Their program aims to help prepare you with the necessary skills to enter the field of design. Also, it’s a program that can benefit working professionals looking to refine or redirect their existing skills.
What makes the interior design program unique at Ohlone College is how it works alongside architecture and decorative art. Students will receive a well-rounded education based on theoretical and practical approaches to applying design techniques. Upon completion, you can earn an Associate in Arts or a Certificate of Achievement in Interior Design.
Alternatively, students can use their certificate or degree to transfer to a four-year college or university. From there, you can earn a Bachelor’s degree or explore a graduate education. Like many other interior design programs, Ohlone College offers plenty of facilities for students to use.
You’ll have access to the Digital Arts and Drafting Lab as well as the Design Studio. Students will find an assortment of reference books, materials, periodicals, and samples to use for their studies in the lab. As a school with an 81% retention rate, it’s one of the better interior design programs that you can use to further your professional opportunities.
4. Massachusetts Bay Community College
2 to 4 Year; Wellesley Hills, MA
Average Annual Cost: $9,376
Obtaining an interior design certificate from the Massachusetts Bay Community College makes you a part of the Division of Business & Professional Studies. During your studies, you’ll explore the fundamental concepts of space planning and use color and materials to put a home together. Students will work through the history of furnishings, decorative arts, and preparing or delivering graphic and oral presentations for commercial properties.
You’ll be able to refine your knowledge in all aspects of architectural design paired with interior decorating. With your studies, you’ll know how to manage an environment that best meets the needs of residents. Also, you’ll receive an introduction to AutoCAD and CAD software, essential for all interior designers.
Another concept that makes Massachusetts Bay Community College’s program unique is its hands-on learning opportunities. Students will take a Small Business Management course to explore what it’s like to own their own interior design business. Also, you’ll have access to an internship that gives you direct real-world experience to build your portfolio.
After graduating, most students from this school earn between $32,925 and $48,432. The school also has a 55% retention rate, proving that their instructions are helpful for students of every age and skill level.
5. Montgomery College
2 to 4 Year; Rockville, MD
Average Annual Cost: $9,650
Montgomery College’s interior design program focuses on how students can create aesthetically pleasing and functional living and working spaces. You’ll receive training to begin your career, but it can also be helpful for professional designers looking to acquire new skills. All of the courses explore various fundamental aspects of this career field, including:
- Historical topics
- Window, wall, and floor treatments
- Estimate preparation
- Design analysis
- Mechanical and electrical systems
- Advanced presentation techniques
Upon graduation, you’ll feel more than prepared to acquire an entry-level position in interior design. Alternatively, you can use your degree or certificate to move onto a four-year college or university for a more in-depth degree. As a first-year, you’ll enroll in three introductory courses to help you learn the tenets of interior design:
- Technical Drawing and Drafting
- Design Principles
- Interior Design I
Montgomery College features a retention rate of 75%, showing that most students return after their first year. Also, graduates earn a fantastic living as they can make a salary between $21,508 and $63,546 annually.
6. Northern Virginia Community College
2 to 4 Year; Annandale, VA
Average Annual Cost: $10,005
Earning an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Interior Design is a phenomenal opportunity. At Northern Virginia Community College, students will acquire the skills you would need to become an interior design technician or assistant designer. The entire curriculum covers various topics in furniture history, art history, basic design, and interior design.
You’ll become proficient in understanding space planning, drafting, furniture retail marketing, and contract designing through your studies. Many of the courses also focus on residential design, giving you the necessary skills to transform homes into livable and functional residences. With a good study ethic, you can complete the program within two years, but there’s also the option to enroll in part-time studies.
Some of the most common courses Northern Virginia Community College offer for interior design include:
- Architectural Drafting for Interior Design
- Theory and Techniques of Interior Design
- College Composition
- Three-Dimensional Drawing and Rendering
- Computer Aided Drafting for Interior Designers
- History and Appreciation of Art
What makes Northern Virginia Community College competitive is its 71% retention rate, showing most students return after their first year. Also, once you graduate, there’s the potential to earn between $25,525 and $69,757 annually.
7. Waukesha County Technical College
2 to 4 Year; Pewaukee, WI
Average Annual Cost: $10,165
When you complete the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Interior Design from Waukesha County Technical College, you’ll be ready for your career. It is a 64-credit degree pathway that can take two years to complete with consistent studying. It’s a hybrid course, making it ideal for students searching for an in-person and online studying opportunity.
Students will develop a strong foundation in furnishings, textiles, and computer-assisted design with this degree program. Some courses focus on retail sales of furnishings and other design essentials. Upon graduation, you’ll know how to create aesthetically pleasing and environmentally-friendly spaces for residential and commercial properties.
Every student needs to own some fundamental tools to begin their studies, including the following:
- Intro to Drafting Kit
- Swatch Kit
- SketchUp Software
- Presentation Supplies
- Safety Equipment
- Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription
Using these tools, you can explore the various ways to transform a space into a more comfortable and functional environment for your clients.
The 37% of students who graduate from Waukesha County Technical College earn between $25,194 and $64,493 after graduation. The school also has a 72% retention rate, making it highly competitive compared to other interior design programs.
8. Utah State University
4 Year; Logan, UT
Average Annual Cost: $13,634
The Interior Architecture and Design program offered by Utah State University is an incredible opportunity for prospective students. It’s one of the few programs accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, especially in the state of Utah. The school also boasts several awards from international and national design competitions.
You’ll earn a Bachelor’s of Interior Design in this program after four years of study and completing 120 credits. It’s also one of the most competitive technical programs that students can choose. Before admission, you must complete a first-year portfolio review followed by a second-year interview to continue your studies.
Another interesting component of the interior design program from Utah State University is their LEED Green Associate exam. You must pass this exam to acquire your degree to help you become a more environmentally-aware professional. Undoubtedly, you’ll find this program can offer you an ample number of future career opportunities.
During your studies, you’ll explore your design skills while being taught by world-renowned architects and designers. You’ll also explore various historical sites and design venues to help spark inspiration for deeper learning. With a 73% retention rate and 55% graduation rate, Utah State University is an excellent opportunity for all interior designers.
9. Pittsburg State University
4 Year; Pittsburg, KS
Average Annual Cost: $14,436
Attending the interior design program from Pittsburg State University is a fantastic solution for prospective students. As part of the School of Construction and College of Technology, students can take many unique courses. During your studies, you’ll learn the fundamentals to practice as an independent interior designer focusing on commercial and residential design.
Students will take a creative approach to problem-solving while using various materials to create exciting environments. Meanwhile, you’ll also explore the various ways to implement universal design standards and environmentally-friendly practices. Where this course differs is that it prepares you for the potential of working for an international audience.
Students will learn various ways to use their design knowledge to improve the quality of life of civilizations worldwide. Also, you’ll use unique techniques to design spaces that promote the public’s welfare, health, and safety. Students will have access to interior design labs, various types of equipment, and internships before graduating.
55% of students at Pittsburg State University graduate, and 74% return after their first year. Also, graduates can earn between $20,140 and $66,941 after getting their degree and entering their field of choice.
10. University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
4 Year; Stevens Point, WI
Average Annual Cost: $14,465
The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point features a 64% graduation rate, helping graduates earn between $20,824 and $52,107 after completing their studies. As an interior design major, you’ll become a part of the Division of Interior Architecture. This department sees a 90% graduation rate and a 92% employment rate for post-grads.
The unique program for interior designers focuses on human needs and preferences when it comes to living spaces. You’ll be able to apply your critical thinking skills, technical skills, and creative skills to design adaptable spaces. Like other top-ranking programs, this pathway is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.
Students will have the fundamental skills to enter an interior design practice upon graduation. You’ll receive a hands-on approach to help you obtain designing and professional training in many spaces. Students will better understand design communication, drawing, socio-cultural designing, and sustainable design.