Selecting a School or Program
You should first check that the institution you are considering is properly accredited. The accrediting body for interior design schools is the nonprofit Council for Interior Design Accreditation. The Council develops guidelines and goals for the future of interior design education and then offers schools the opportunity to meet those standards and receive accreditation. Lack of council accreditation does not necessarily mean that your school does not meet high standards-the school may simply not have applied. As long as a school has been accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body, you will be receiving a level of education that will allow you to sit for the national certification exam administered by the National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). However, some state's interior design regulations and laws specify accreditation. Click here to find the full list of schools accredited by the Council.
Research Programs That Fit Your Needs
You have many options: two-year programs or four-year programs, big universities or small colleges or art and design schools, even home study. You may be wondering whether a four-year degree is necessary or if a two-year degree will suffice. Before you can make these big decisions, you really should start at square one. Find out which schools are in your area or in the areas where you would be willing to live. Then do some investigating. Find out what sort of design they specialize in, who they are accredited by and what that means for your future, how much you can expect to pay in fees and other expenses, etc.
Talk with a Faculty Member
Set up an appointment with a faculty member at the schools you are most interested in. This is a good way to decide whether or not a program is right for you. Ask the faculty member about the types of classes that are offered, the teaching philosophy of the program, what percentage of graduates actually pursue interior design careers, and what types of jobs they have landed.
When considering enrolling in an online learning program, you must conduct your research. While a certificate program would probably provide you with a good introduction to interior design, it would not provide you with the credentials you will need to sit for the NCIDQ exam or to be licensed in most states or hired by most interior design or architecture firms.
There are five online programs that ASID recognizes that meet the educational requirements for student membership. The design schools are Rhodec International (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Art Institute of Pittsburgh's Online Division (www.aionline.edu), the Academy of Art online program (www.academyart.edu), The Design Ecademy (www.thedesignecademy.com) and Westwood College Online (http://www.westwood.edu/online-learning). If studying through Rhodec, you will need to be enrolled in either the Diploma or Bachelor's programs, and if studying through Limperts you must be enrolled in the HND (Higher National Diploma) program.
It should be noted, however, that ASID is not an accrediting body and makes no comparative evaluations or endorsements of interior design programs beyond the minimum standards for student chapter membership set out by ASID's board of directors. With full completion of the programs listed above, graduates are eligible for advancement to Allied Membership in ASID.
ASID maintains special relationships with Laureate International Universities and American Intercontinental Universities in order to offer student members discounts. [read more]