Interior design is a growing field that allows creative people to work with color, lighting, and materials to make a space both beautiful and functional. With many home and business owners wanting to build green spaces into modern homes and buildings, interior design seems to have a bright future. While one doesn’t have to have a degree to become an interior designer, many firms require a bachelor’s degree at minimum. There are several fantastic undergraduate and graduate interior design programs available. The top 3 graduate interior design programs in America are: New York Institute of Interior Design, Pratt Institute, and Rhode Island School of Design. Though these schools have great programs, they may not fit your needs precisely. Here are the questions you should ask when choosing an interior design program.

Do I need to have a degree to participate in this program?

Many interior design programs require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. While not all interior design programs require that you have a degree, many jobs will not hire you unless you have had this level of higher education. You may want to consider continuing your education to include a bachelor’s degree with a focus on interior design while also participating in an interior design program.

Is this interior design program accredited?

Accreditation indicates that a program has passed specific standards set out by the accrediting body. For example, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) holds interior design programs and schools to a strict set of standards and reviews the program or school every six years. 

Is the program licensed?

Each state has its own requirements for licensing an interior design program. Licensing is the state’s way of accrediting the school or program. Be sure to check the state in which the school is located to find out what licensing standards the school or program is held to.

Will this program help me get an interior design job?

Many programs will work toward helping you build a design portfolio so that, upon graduation, you can find a job rapidly. This is an invaluable tool and it’s worth finding out what else the program may provide to help you find a job upon graduation. 

Are there classes I should take before attending this program?

More and more interior designers are graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree. Additionally, experience in or classes taken on architecture or engineering can help an interior designer when attending graduate programs and getting a job in the industry. 

What classes and areas of study does this program offer?

Many interior designers are becoming more focused and specialized on a particular aspect of interior design. For example, if you want to focus on green improvements, you would want to take much different classes than a designer who wants to restore historic homes or buildings. Be sure the interior design program you are considering has classes that focus on your design field of choice.

How experienced are the instructors teaching the interior design program?

Interior design programs may provide classes taught or lectures given by industry professionals. These instructors will be able to give valuable, on-the-job information and experience that will benefit you when you begin work in interior design. If you have an experienced instructor, take a look at their portfolio and resume and be sure to ask plenty of questions. Their everyday knowledge of the industry may help you when you apply for an interior design position.

Are there online class options?

If you do not live near the school or program of your choice, it may be possible to attend through the internet. Find out if there are online options for classes that will allow you to get a great education without moving your home.