Why This Matters

  • DEMAND FOR INTERIOR DESIGNERS TO RISE 1%

    Employment of interior designers is expected to grow at a relatively slow pace during the next decade.

  • CHOOSE FROM A VARIETY OF SPECIALIZATION AREAS

    Interior design is a versatile field. Most interior designers choose to work in commercial or residential design, and they focus on areas such as hospitality, showroom, retail/office, or historic preservation.

  • EARN $7,000 MORE PER YEAR WITH A MASTER’S DEGREE

    According to Payscale, the average salary for workers with a Bachelor’s in Interior Design is $58,000, while workers with a Master’s in Interior Design earn $65,000.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online interior design degree programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. All of the schools on our list are regionally accredited, which means they meet rigorous standards for post-secondary education. The programs on our list are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) or the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) both reputable organizations that assess interior design programs for educational excellence and a commitment to quality education.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online interior design degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The Top 27 Online Interior Design Degree Programs

Best Interior Design Degree Programs 2023
01
Intelligent Pick
University of Nebraska at Lincoln
01
Best for Sustainable Design
Ball State University
01
Best for Practical Experience
Savannah College of Art and Design
01
Best for Interior Architecture
Boston Architectural College
01
Best for Educators
Brenau University
01
Best Hybrid Program
Chatham University
01
Best Scholarship Opportunities
Stephen F. Austin State University
01
Best Bachelor's Degree Program
New Jersey Institute of Technology
01
Best Diploma Program
Century College
01
Best Associate Degree Program
Florida State College at Jacksonville
01

Ohio University
01

American River College

What You Should Know About This Degree

A bachelor’s degree is typically considered the minimum level of education necessary for entry into the interior design field, although a certificate or associate’s degree is sufficient for some entry-level positions. Many interior designers work their way up to senior positions through hands-on experience. However, some choose to earn a master’s degree to help advance their career or prepare them for the field if they have a bachelor’s degree in a different area.

Each state regulates interior designers differently. Some states mandate that interior designers must have a license in order to use the title “interior designer,” while in other states, both licensed and unlicensed individuals can use the title.

In most states, in order to become licensed, interior designers must have certification from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). The certification process includes meeting educational and professional experience eligibility requirements, paying a fee, and passing a three-part certification exam.

Although students who attend non-CIDA-accredited programs can get certified, if a program has CIDA accreditation, it is more likely to meet the educational standards mandated by the NCIDQ. During the research phase, find out if the program has CIDA accreditation, as this may be a factor in deciding which program you will attend.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Interior Design programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Artistic skills are crucial in interior design. As such, many programs ask applicants to demonstrate their artistic abilities during the admissions process by submitting a portfolio. At the master’s level, programs may also seek candidates with an undergraduate degree in interior design or a related field and professional design experience.
  • Do you need financial aid? This is an important consideration if you are thinking about getting a certificate in interior design. Typically, only students enrolled in degree-granting programs are eligible for federal financial aid like loans and grants. Talk to a program representative or financial aid counselor to find out exactly what type of resources you are eligible for based on the program you are researching.

Take a look at the program’s application requirements and deadlines when researching programs. They may vary based on whether the programs grant a certificate or a degree. Degree-granting programs tend to have more significant admissions requirements, especially at the master’s level. Find out what your financing options are as well, including scholarships, loans, assistantships, and tuition benefits from your employer, if you are currently working.