Interior Design Certificate Programs

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Interior Design Certificate Programs

When people think about interior designers and the work that they do, they often conjure up images of lavishly decorated homes or elaborate commercial spaces. While that may be an accurate description of some aspects of interior design, the profession is much more than that – it is a multifaceted profession that requires expertise in diverse areas such as architecture, building codes and materials, lighting, space planning, color coordination, and computer-aided design.

Interior design certificate programs are one of the leading options for students who want to learn the requisite skills to start a career in interior design, but who may not want to invest the time (and money) that is required for a four-year degree. Certificate programs are available both online and on-campus depending on the school, and can usually be completed in 12 months or less.

Certificate Programs in Interior Design

Interior design certificate programs are offered by a variety of institutions, from community colleges to prestigious colleges and universities, but what exactly is a certificate program and how does it differ from an associate or bachelor’s degree?

As the name implies, a certificate program in interior design is an intense course of study that leads to a certificate, rather than a degree, upon completion. Classes are generally offered at an accelerated pace and can be completed within six months to one year. Students receive instruction and training that is more practical than theoretical and focuses on the actual skillsets needed to work as an interior designer.

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Who Is a Good Fit for a Certificate Program?

Interior design certificate programs are typically developed with a few types of students in mind. First and foremost, certificate programs are ideal for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field but want to transition into the interior design profession. This could be someone who has experience in a design-related field or someone with experience in real estate, engineering, or architecture.

Certificate programs are also a perfect fit for:

  • Students with a passion for interior design
  • Beginning students who want to explore the possibility of becoming an interior designer
  • Mid-career students who want to enhance their skills
  • Interior designers who want to pursue a new area of specialization

Interior Design Certificate Programs Online

Modern technology is transforming the landscape of online learning, and certificate programs in interior design are no exception. Online certificate programs are designed to meet the needs of working professionals and busy students, with a majority of coursework being delivered in an asynchronous online format.

Online interior design certificate programs offer the same high-quality curriculum, rigorous academic standards, and exceptional faculty as their traditional on-campus counterparts, but with the added convenience of allowing you to complete lessons at your own pace and from any location. Lecture content is delivered over the internet and supplemental materials can be accessed via an online learning management system (LMS).

What You Will Learn

Interior design certificate programs are taught with a focus on practical experience and up-to-date industry knowledge. Most certificate programs do not include any general education requirements, but rather focus on specific interior design topics which can include:

  • Freehand drawing and drafting to communicate design concepts
  • Computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Construction methods and materials
  • Space planning techniques
  • History of furniture making
  • Introduction to sustainable interior design concepts
  • Various aspects of color theory, with an emphasis on the psychology of color
  • Painting for decorative finishes
  • Lighting principles and applications in interior design
  • Professional ethics and standards

Pathways to Interior Design Certification

Certification represents a serious commitment to the design profession and signals to clients that a designer has met a high standard of professional competency and expertise within the profession. Only designers who meet specific education and work experience requirements are eligible to sit for a certification exam, and only those who pass the exam are able to practice with the professional designation of Certified Interior Designer (CID).

Timeline Comparison - Certificate vs. Degree

Certificate in Interior Design
6 - 12 months of education + 5,280 work hours (3 years full-time)
Associate Degree in Interior Design
2 years of education + 5,280 work hours (3 years full-time)
Bachelor or Master Degree (CIDA or Non-CIDA)
4 - 7 years of education + 3,520 work hours (2 years full-time)
Bachelor or Master Degree (in other major) + Interior Design Certificate
4.5 - 7.5 years of education + 3,520 work hours (2 years full-time)

Top Interior Design Certifications