Top Online Schools for Interior Design Programs

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Interior designers engage in a series of complex tasks in the process of their profession, and must have a complex understanding of many different areas: historical design, building codes, ergonomics, environmental psychology, specific technologies, and more. Individuals who have an eye for decorating and design, and who have the ability to focus on a multitude of areas simultaneously will benefit from a career in interior design. These professionals must have skills in research, theory, communication, and business, and must be able to constructively and ethically work with a team, while also breaking free of their own tastes and concentrating on those of the client. Upon exiting any one of these online programs, students will have the knowledge, experience, and fortitude to enter into a completive and challenging field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, interior designers earn an annual salary of about $50,000/yr, and have predicted the job outlook at about 4% over the next 8-10 years.

These schools were chosen for several factors that put them ahead of other online programs—due to the: nature of the coursework, degree of thoroughness and complexity of the curriculum, 100% online availability, sufficient financial aid availability, and an education that gives students more than just classroom experience. In developing this list, OnlineSchoolsCenter.com, chose not to list the schools in an ordered way, but instead highlighted thirteen of the very best programs, all of which have their own unique strengths.

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN

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Program Standouts:
According to their impressive website, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln online Master in Architecture: Interior Design was ranked by design professionals at more than 200 American firms as one of the best programs for preparing students for real-world success. The curriculum offers practical experience, research projects, and scholarly inquiry.

Campus Location: Lincoln, NE

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $20 per semester—application fee
  • $25 per credit hour—distance education fee
  • $11 per credit hour—technology fee
  • $50 one time—application fee
  • $393.75 per credit hour—in-state tuition
  • $844 per credit hour—out-of-state tuition

Types of Aid: Federal and private loans; federal, state, and institutional grants; institutional and private scholarship opportunities; graduate assistantships and fellowships; student employment programs.

Acceptance Rate: 69.9%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, a statement of goals, a portfolio, and TOEFL scores from students who use English as a second language.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Evolving Issues in Interior Design
  • Behavioral and Social Factors in Environmental Design Behavior
  • Preservation and Meaning of Historic Interiors

Degree Outcomes:
This online program is designed to prepare students with a diverse set of applicable skills. A leader in education and research, UNL gives students specific training in research and theory-based problem-solving skills, setting them up for employment positions of increased responsibility. Alumni have gone on to work in areas such as project management, commercial industries, government, and more!

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN, CLICK HERE!

BALL STATE UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
Ball State University is well-known for its prestigious distance education programs, and regularly appears on lists of the finest online programs in America. The Master in Interior Design is no exception—this rigorous program focuses in elements of research and theory and gives students the opportunity to fast track their coursework.

Campus Location: Muncie, IN

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Tuition and Fees:

  • $394 per credit hour—in-state tuition
  • $590 per credit hour—out-of-state tuition
  • $58 per 0-3 credit hours; $110 per 4-6 credit hours; $168 per 7 or more credit hours—technology fee

Types of Aid: Federal and alternative loans; institutional and external scholarship opportunities; tuition discounts; employer tuition assistance; senior citizen benefits; various payment plans; tax credits and deductions; tuition refunds; military and veterans’ benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 59.9%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution, a letter of intent, a current résumé, a portfolio, and two letters of recommendation.

Program Options:

  • Fast Track
  • Three Year Program

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates from Ball State University demonstrate strong capabilities in graphic communication, design theory, environmental psychology, and design for ergonomic, accessibility, functional, and cultural needs. As interior design professionals, BSU alumni go on to provide outstanding service within the industry.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BALL STATE UNIVERSITY, CLICK HERE!

ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
This prestigious online university has helped a multitude of students build highly successful careers in interior design. The curricula focus on theory, design, and technology and expands upon intellectual, artistic, and ethical abilities. Academy of Art University gives students unique opportunities to “explore and create the designs of their dreams.”

Campus Location: San Fransisco, CA

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges; Council of Interior Design Accreditation; National Association of Schools of Art and Design

Tuition and Fees:

  • $50 one time—application fee
  • $100 per semester—tuition deposit
  • $20 per semester—registration fee
  • $873 per credit hour—undergraduate tuition
  • $982 per credit hour—graduate tuition

Types of Aid: Federal and alternative loans; federal and state grants; institutional and outside scholarship opportunities; various payment plans; student employment programs.

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Admission Requirements:
Undergraduate applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official high school or GED transcripts as well as those from any attended undergraduate institutions, and an art portfolio (not required but highly encouraged).
Graduate applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution, a statement of intent, a current résumé, and a portfolio.

Program Options:

  • Associate of Arts in Interior Architecture and Design
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture and Design
  • Master of Arts in Interior Architecture and Design
  • Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture and Design

Degree Outcomes:
Academy of Art University Associate in Interior Design graduates learn how to push boundaries and create dynamic interiors through the utilization of innovative methods of spatial organization, materials, and lighting. Having learned from some of the finest interior design and architecture professionals in the world, alumni are well-prepared to enter into or expand upon a career in this field.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY, CLICK HERE!

PENN FOSTER COLLEGE

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Program Standouts:
Penn Foster College is one of the most well-ranked online schools in the country, and provides students within an exemplary Associate in Interior Design that focuses on design, drafting, and relevant business skills. In a challenging yet rewarding curriculum, students engage in a series of projects and examinations that help form in-depth understandings of the field.

Campus Location: Scottsdale, AZ

Accreditation: Council for Higher Education Accreditation; Distance Education Accrediting Commission; National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements; Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education; Better Business Bureau

Tuition and Fees:

  • $1,099 per program (full payment); $1,314 per program (automatic payments); $1,605 per program (manual monthly payments)—tuition

Types of Aid: Super low tuition costs; various highly affordable monthly payment plans with 0% interest; 6-day full refund guarantee; military benefits.

Acceptance Rate: unavailable

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application and official high school or GED transcripts.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • CAD for Interiors
  • Architectural Lighting Design
  • Marketing and Sales in Interior Design

Degree Outcomes:
Students in this online associate’s degree program develop strong skills in residential and commercial design, dynamic interaction of color; drawing techniques; and the legal, financial, management, marketing, administrative, and ethical issues surrounding the profession. Glowing student reviews confirm the effectiveness of this outstanding program.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PENN FOSTER COLLEGE, CLICK HERE!

SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN

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Program Standouts:
The Savannah College of Art and Design is one of the most revered art schools in the world and offers an online Master in Interior Design that draws from numerous departments and is supported by the Angelo Donghia Foundation, one of the most influential interior design institutions in the country.

Campus Location: Savannah, GA

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $40 one time—application fee
  • $12,025 per quarter (three courses); $8,010 per quarter (two courses); $4,005 per quarter (one course)—tuition

Types of Aid: Federal and private loans; federal and state grants; institutional, departmental, and outside scholarship opportunities; student employment programs.

Acceptance Rate: 69%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a well-crafted portfolio, and a current résumé.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Emerging Interior Materials
  • Environmental Psychology for Interior design
  • Contemporary Issues in Interior Design

Degree Outcomes:
Upon exiting this outstanding online program, students are prepared to enter into or expand upon an exciting and profitable career in interior design. Having completed challenging projects both alone and with a team of peers, students have strongly developed skills that are much desired by employers.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN, CLICK HERE!

SAMFORD UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
Samford University’s Department of Interior Architecture offers an online, “faith-based” Master in Design Studies. This school provides rich coursework that can be oriented to fit all students’ academic and career goals. The curriculum is largely focused on elements of design, academic research, and design practice.

Campus Location: Birmingham, AL

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $766 per credit hour—tuition
  • $175 per semester—program fee

Types of Aid: Federal and alternative loans; federal and state grants; institutional and external scholarship opportunities; student employment programs; various payment plans.

Acceptance Rate: 59.5%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application and official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution representing a relevant academic background.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Architecture, Society, and Culture
  • Design Issues in the Interior Built Environment
  • Research Design and Methods I and II

Degree Outcomes:
Upon completion of this online master’s degree, graduates are able to apply current research findings to produce successful results in problem-solving, and are able to engage in analytical methods in order effect optimal outcomes. Alumni demonstrate ethical and responsible practices in a number of different areas of interior design.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SAMFORD UNIVERSITY, CLICK HERE!

NEW YORK SCHOOL OF INTERIOR DESIGN

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Program Standouts:
The New York School of Interior Design is one of the most preeminent schools in the discipline and has been named #1 for many of its programs. NYSID offers several online degrees: one undergraduate certificate and two graduate degrees, all of which cover unique and exciting areas of interior design. Students have access to live classes that are streamed via video-conferencing.

Campus Location: New York, NY

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; National Association of Schools of Art and Design; Council for Interior Design Accreditation

Tuition and Fees:

  • $60 one time ($100 for international students)—application fee
  • $295 per semester—technology/registration fee
  • $80 per semester—student services fee
  • $915 per credit hour—undergraduate tuition
  • $1,035 per credit hour—graduate tuition

Types of Aid: Federal and private loans; federal and state grants; numerous institutional and outside scholarship opportunities; graduate assistantships; student employment programs; tuition assistance; aid for part-time study; veterans’ benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 45.5%

Admission Requirements:
Undergraduate applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official high school or GED transcripts, at least two letters of recommendation, SAT/ACT scores, a personal essay, and TOEFL scores from students who use English as a second language.
Graduate applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution representing a background in a relevant field, at least two letters of recommendation, a well-crafted portfolio, a personal essay, a current résumé, and TOEFL scores from students who use English as a second language.

Program Options:

  • Basic Interior Design Certificate
  • Master of Professional Studies in Healthcare Interior Design
  • Master of Professional Studies in Sustainable Interior Environments

Degree Outcomes:
Depending on their program of choice, students will be able to enter into numerous different fields of interior design. With the notoriety of a NYSID degree, graduates have strong networking support of professionals and other alumni across the country and the world.These programs prepare student for any type of future interior design scenario.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE NEW YORK SCHOOL OF INTERIOR DESIGN, CLICK HERE!

ASHWORTH COLLEGE

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Program Standouts:
This online school offers a multitude of well-respected distance education programs that have been recognized by impressive resources. The online Interior Decorating Career Diploma gives students a more basic approach to the field that allows them to work more closely with their own tastes, rather than being pinioned to that of a client.

Campus Location: Norcross, GA

Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission; Better Business Bureau; Council of Interior Decorators (C.I.D.) Approved

Tuition and Fees:

  • $659 per program (pay in full); $709 per program (monthly automatic payments); $799 per program (monthly manual payments)—tuition

Types of Aid: Super low tuition; various highly affordable monthly payment plans with 0% interest.

Acceptance Rate: unavailable

Admission Requirements:
None unless otherwise specified by Ashworth College.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Understanding Interior Decorating and Design
  • Elements and Principles of Design
  • Lighting, Electrical, and Communications

Degree Outcomes:
Upon exiting this fine online program, students will have a strong understanding of color schemes, furniture arrangement, fabrics and flooring, and the creation of beautifully pleasing environments. Graduates receive a prominent interior decorating lesson book, drawing supply kit, and a career diploma.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ASHWORTH COLLEGE, CLICK HERE!

BAKER COLLEGE

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Program Standouts:
Baker College online Associate in Interior Design students learn the basics of the profession from highly experienced and outstanding faculty members. Students sharpen skills in drafting, drawing, and presentation, as well as how to apply textiles, furnishings, and space planning for personal homes and commercial buildings.

Campus Location: Flint, MI

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission; Academic Quality Improvement Program participant

Tuition and Fees:

  • $30 one time—application fee
  • $250 per credit hour—civilian tuition
  • $165 per credit hour—military tuition

Types of Aid: Federal and private loans; federal, state, military, and institutional grants; institutional and external scholarship opportunities; student employment programs; military benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed common online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official high school or GED transcripts, and SAT/ACT scores.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Art and Architecture
  • Space Planning I and II
  • Interior Design Graphics

Degree Outcomes:
Baker graduates have developed a strong foundation for continued education in the field as well as entry-level positions in interior design, kitchen, and bathroom design. Graduates have a strong command of their creativity and sense of style, and have an understanding of industry-standard technologies and equipment.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BAKER COLLEGE, CLICK HERE!

CHATHAM UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
Chatham University delivers an online Master in Interior Architecture that is focused mainly on design theory. Students have the opportunity to explore different building types enough to develop a specialization. This well-recognized program gives students a competitive edge in the classroom and in future work environments.

Campus Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; Council for Interior Design Accreditation; Pennsylvania West chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers

Tuition and Fees:

  • $903 per credit hour—tuition

Types of Aid: Federal and private loans; graduate assistantships and fellowships; Yellow Ribbon Program; tuition reduction grant program; third party billing/employer tuition assistance; various payment plans.

Acceptance Rate: 52.3%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution representing a GPA of 3.0 or higher, a personal statement of intent, a current résumé or CV, and two letters of recommendation.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Statistical Research Methods for Business
  • Interior Architecture Inquiry
  • Issues in Interior Architecture

Degree Outcomes:
Upon exiting this online program, students are prepared to enter into a new or enhanced field of interior design. With an impressive degree and a world of experience, graduates go on to higher education, doctoral programs, or specialized careers in interior design. Some students will gain supervised teaching experience and complete a master’s.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CHATHAM UNIVERSITY, CLICK HERE!

BRENAU UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
This school offers an online Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design that is unique in that it is specifically geared toward preparing students to teach the discipline at a college level and develop outstanding skills in both practice and research. This program drastically enhances a current career in interior design.

Campus Location: Gainesville, GA

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Council for Interior Design Accreditation; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; Georgia Professional Standards Commission for Teacher Education Programs

Tuition and Fees:

  • $652 per credit hour—civilian tuition
  • $250 per credit hour—active-duty military tuition
  • $175 per semester—technology ffee

Types of Aid: Federal and private loans; federal and state grants; institutional and outside scholarship opportunities; military benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 75.8%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution representing a GPA of 3.0 or higher in a relevant field of interior design, a current résumé showing professional work experience, and NCIDQ certification.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Research and Design Theory
  • Interior Design Classroom Preparation
  • Educational Technology

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates will be well-prepared to enter into positions of college-level instruction and research, and will have the necessary skills to create challenging and thorough curricula that effectively communicate current methods, theories, and problems within the interior design community. Alumni demonstrate strong links between professional practice and design research.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BRENAU UNIVERSITY, CLICK HERE!

THE ART INSTITUTE OF PITTSBURGH

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Program Standouts:
This prestigious online academic institution is well-known and recognized for its distance education art programs. Interior design students can enroll in a bachelor’s degree program or a Diploma in Residential Planning, both of which help to develop technical and creative skills to design interior spaces that meet demanding requirements.

Campus Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; Council for Interior Design Accreditation; Pennsylvania Department of Education

Tuition and Fees:

  • $90,100 full program—undergraduate tuition
  • $18,120 full program—diploma tuition

Types of Aid: Federal and private loans; federal and state grants; institutional and outside scholarship opportunities; various payment plans; student employment programs; military and veterans’ benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 39%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, official high school transcripts as well as those from any undergraduate or military institutions, and a personal essay. Applicants are required to complete a phone interview with an admissions professional.

Program Options:

  • Bachelor in Interior Design
  • Diploma in Residential Planning

Degree Outcomes:
AIP interior design students develop strong capabilities in problem solving for complex scenarios by using design principles, theories, and applications; as well as in communication, building management systems/codes, interior finish materials, and professionalism.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ART INSTITUTE OF PITTSBURGH, CLICK HERE!

ROCKY MOUNTAIN COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN

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Program Standouts:
The Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design online Bachelor in Interior Design draws from many different areas such as, art, architecture, environmental design, graphic design, and industrial design. Students have access to a diverse group of peers and one-on-one time with talented professors.

Campus Location: Lakewood, CO

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; Council for Interior Design Accreditation

Tuition and Fees:

  • $50 one time—application fee
  • $464 per credit hour—tuition

Types of Aid: Federal and alternative loans; federal and state grants; institutional, departmental, and external scholarship opportunities; student employment programs; military benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must complete an interview with an admissions representative, and submit a completed application, the nonrefundable application fee, official high school transcripts as well as those from any undergraduate institutions, a well-crafted portfolio, an artists statement, and Financial Aid documentation.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Design Process and Planning
  • Holistic Design
  • Interior Materials

Degree Outcomes:
Students exiting this cutting-edge undergraduate program are supported by an incredibly strong career services department and a network of professionals and alumni. Graduates have a keen understanding of the discipline and go on to provide skilled, ethical, and environmentally responsible interior design.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN, CLICK HERE!