Online Interior Design Degrees

online interior design degree

One important but often overlooked aspect of how we function in our day-to-day lives is the way the spaces we inhabit are used. Well-designed spaces can have a variety of powerful impacts, from drawing attention to a specific aesthetic or architectural feature to facilitating efficiency and streamlining operations.

But regardless of whether the goal of a given location is to impress or to fade unobtrusively into the workings and operations of a building, the one factor that links all of these spaces together is the fact that they all have to be designed. It's the job of interior designers to conceptualize and implement the look and feel of a given space, whether it's aesthetically or architecturally, to achieve the desired effect.

Effective interior design is about more than just paint colors and furniture choices. It's a field that blends design, architecture and psychology to establish spaces that are as visually stunning as they are functionally efficient. Interior designers have several considerations to take into account, from what a given room or space looks like to how well it complies with safety regulations.

Are Online Interior Designer Programs for You?

Here are some things to consider when choosing an interior designer program.

Interior design is a combination of disciplines that are tied together by a keen sense of design. The specific skills and fields that are emphasized can vary significantly depending on the area of design that a candidate is interested in pursuing. For example, private residential designers tend to lean more heavily toward the art and design side of the field, while commercial designers place a stronger emphasis on utility, efficiency, sustainability and safety.

In this sense, interior design is a field that merges the left and right brains together in a single pursuit. Style, creativity and design prowess are just as important as problem-solving ability and a knowledge of relevant legislation and other guidelines, such as building codes, safety requirements and zoning laws.

Most employers prefer applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree in a design-related field. In the absence of this, demonstrated ability and experience in design, such as would be demonstrated through a portfolio, is an asset. In addition to these credentials and qualifications, some states require designers to receive state-specific licensure to legally practice design.

Interior Designer Career Paths and Potential Salaries

Interior design spans many different sectors, from private residences to commercial businesses like retail shops. As such, there are a variety of career paths open to prospective designers depending on the type of work they want to do and the environment in which they wish to work.

Interior Designer[i]

At the most fundamental level, interior designers work with architects and designers to establish the look and function of a space. They often work closely with blueprints to ensure basic building code requirements are met, as well as with the building or homeowner to achieve the desired aesthetic and match form with function.

2012 median annual salary: $47,600
Job growth through 2022: 13 percent (as fast as average)
Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Urban Planner[ii]

Urban planners are like interior designers who operate on the scale of an entire urban area. These professionals are responsible for zoning, planning the use of space in a given area and accommodating population growth effectively while meeting the needs of a growing community.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $65,230
  • Job growth through 2022: 10 percent (as fast as average)
  • Entry-level education: Master's degree

Landscape Architect[iii]

These professionals design outdoor spaces, including parks, gardens and outdoor recreation areas. They can work either for private companies or government organizations.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $64,180
  • Job growth through 2022: 14 percent (as fast as average)
  • Entry-level education: Master's degree