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Best Online Degrees in: Interior Design

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Interior Design

Value
Academy of Art is the winner of the best online interior design bachelor's degree for value. Academy students graduates can expect a 5.6% return on investment over time without financial aid, according to PayScale.com. If they attend with financial aid, that percentage increases to a 6.0% return on investment. Though it is an initial investment, an education from the Academy will pay off over time.

Student Engagement
The key to student engagement is strong faculty involvement. When faculty members keep track of their students' progress, students are likely to work harder. According to U.S. News & World Report, Academy of Art instructors track student sign-ins to make sure students are participating in their online classes. Instructors also respond to student emails within 24 hours. Due to this dedication to student involvement, Academy of Art is our winner for best online interior design bachelor's degree for student engagement.

Library and Research Support
Academy of Art wins the award for best library and research support, due to its comprehensive library website. The online library provides students with quick resources to assist with the research process, citation guides, and the ability to search materials by subject. The library website also has an ask-a-librarian page, where librarians can be contacted through various media, including email, phone, and the website itself.

Learning Support
The award for best learning support goes to Academy of Art, for providing multiple student support systems that can easily be accessed through the school's website. By providing clear instructions with visual aids, the Academy ensures that students will learn how to access assistance when they need it. Services include a writing lab, academic support, and language support, all of which can be accessed online.

Faculty Credentials
Academy of Art online instructors are required to receive training in teaching online classes before they can hold any online classes of their own, according to U.S. News & World Report. To ensure that its online faculty receives proper training, the Academy finances it, considering it to be a worthy investment. In addition, 39% of Academy of Art instructors have taught online for two or more years. The Academy is therefore the winner of best online interior design bachelor's degree for faculty credentials.

New Online Student Orientation
The award for best new online student orientation goes to Academy of Art for having a website that provides multiple tutorials and orientations. Students do not need to travel to become acclimated to the Academy and their online classes. Rather, they can access the tutorials at any time from the comfort of their own homes.

Explore a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design

An interior designer does more than select pretty furniture. These professionals are responsible for incorporating elements of design without forsaking practicality. An interior design major will study the principles of design, including light, color, form, and furnishings. In addition, they will learn about space planning, problem solving, and building and construction codes. They may work in homes, offices, hospitals, hotels, resorts, or restaurants, and they often collaborate with architects, engineers, and clients. Individual interior design programs vary; some may allow students to specialize in residential, industrial, or commercial design. They will also vary in length, although standard interior design programs require students to fulfill 180 credit hours.

Class Curriculum

Interior design students will develop their drawing skills, use computers to create floor plans, and design with an eye for functionality. They will take classes in art history, interior drawing, acoustics and lighting, construction law, and textile design. Outside of class, they can expect to spend hours in the studio and the computer lab, where they will explore and test creative design solutions. The standard interior design curriculum typically includes the following courses:

  • Fundamentals of Design. This class is an introduction to the principles of interior design. Students will learn about design materials, elements, and trends as they become familiar with the design process and the terminology associated with it.
  • Textiles. Students will work with a number of man-made and natural fibers in this class, as they learn about their characteristics and uses. The course content includes discussions about yarns, fabrics, finishes, design methods, aesthetic application, and ordering specifications.
  • Color Theory. This course provides an introduction to the principles of color. Students will examine color theory as it relates to design and form. They will learn about the psychological and cultural relevance of color, relying on tested concepts and methods associated with color application. The content of this course will enable them to make appropriate design decisions.

Interior design programs emphasize the importance of developing a strong portfolio and gaining professional experience. Students will work on projects that develop their design abilities by simulating on-the-job situations.

Building a Career

Students who major in interior design often pursue the field after graduation. Interior designers must be familiar with federal, state, and local interior design codes. Not every state requires people who perform interior design work to be licensed, but in many states, those who want to become registered interior designers must pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam. Professional organizations such as the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research and the American Society of Interior Designers play a dominant role in this field. Individuals who leave the field generally choose another aesthetic design-related area. They may work as interior decorators, graphic designers, and computer graphics consultants; some even become architects, which requires additional education and licensure.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of interior designers was $52,810 as of May 2011. However, BLS estimates are not a guarantee, and actual earnings will vary based on the individual's experience, educational attainment, skill, and other factors.

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