Create beautiful spaces that inspire and energize by taking on the future of interior design!
While you may think that you have the skills to put furniture in a room and make it look appealing, interior designers are specially equipped with a skillset and training to make a wide variety of spaces appeal to specific audiences.
Some people have an eye for design, and those individuals are ahead of the game, able to take their design vision to new levels with a foundational interior design education. Even if you don’t have the natural talent for interior design, you can still learn concepts and techniques in one of our 20 accredited online colleges for interior design.
What Do You Learn in an Interior Design Accredited Program?
Interior design programs give you the foundational knowledge necessary to understand color theory, design theories, and how to make spaces both functional and beautiful.
As you progress through an interior design program online, you also learn how to utilize a variety of design tools that allows you to create virtual spaces for presentation to clients. For example, you might learn how to use AutoCAD to help you design spaces.
Examples of interior design courses you might take when enrolled in an interior design program include:
- Residential and commercial design
- Furniture design
- Small business marketing
- 3D imaging
While the classwork in interior design schools is fundamental to becoming an interior designer, many of the programs on our list recognize the importance of gaining real-world experience through working with professional interior designers in designing interior spaces. Many accredited interior design courses online incorporate real-world experience by requiring you to complete internships during one or two semesters before graduation.
The internship is a critical part of your interior design education. You can utilize design concepts and design software for projects that real customers pay to have completed. Of course, online students like you do this work under the guidance of an experienced designer, so you also get valuable feedback about your work.
These experiences are also an excellent opportunity to network with professional interior designers who may connect you with your first job opportunity. Since the internship experiences usually take place during the last semester or two of your studies, the connections you make can give you a significant step forward in your career upon graduation.
What Organizations Accredit Interior Design Programs?
Accreditation is critically important because it demonstrates that the school or program in which you’re enrolled has met stringent standards. In other words, accreditation helps ensure that you get a good education that prepares you well for your future career.
In the world of interior design programs, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) is the gold standard. CIDA accredits dozens of interior design schools and programs across the nation. There are also CIDA-accredited programs in Canada, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and online.
What are the Best Accredited Online Colleges for Interior Design Degrees?
Finding a high-quality education requires more than simply Googling, “online interior design schools accredited.” Instead, you want to put your education in the hands of experienced faculty at well-regarded, accredited schools. That’s where this list comes in.
Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics to rank each program on this list.
The programs are scored individually. Each school’s score is then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking.
Accredited Online College considers several factors when determining rankings. These include the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online.
For more information, see our methodology page.
Now, let’s get to the list of online interior design degree accredited programs!
If it’s interior design online schools accredited that you’re looking for, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a great place to begin.
When choosing a school for interior design, you have many options. However, there are none better than the Master of Science in Architecture with a specialization in Interior Design from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.
This degree is especially suited for you if you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree in architecture or interior design. Additionally, this program is geared toward interior design research. Because of this, those who complete the degree are ideally placed to start teaching interior design or architecture at the college level.
The MS in Architecture with a specialization in Interior Design is a 36-credit-hour program. It can be completed on a two- or three-year schedule. Students are only admitted into this program in the fall of each academic year, so you’ll have to do a little planning to ensure you don’t miss the application deadlines.
If you’re accepted into this program, you can also pursue another specialization through the school’s Interior Design and Gerontology dual-certificate program.
The Master of Arts or Master of Science in Interior Design from Ball State University was created with all students in mind, from those with an interior design undergraduate degree to those without an interior design background.
The fast-track option available is for those who have an undergraduate degree in interior design or architecture. It consists of 33 credit hours of graduate-level coursework that is completed over two years. In this program, you will take around two classes per semester. You’re required to complete a thesis to be eligible for graduation.
Those without previous interior design experience are eligible to apply to the school’s three-year track. this option consists of undergraduate coursework to give you a foundation in interior design. There is also graduate coursework. This program is 80 credit hours in duration and requires some in-person courses to be completed. However, much of the coursework is completed online.
If you’re interested in remodeling and designing older buildings, you’ll want to check out Rhode Island School of Design’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture.
This degree combines the best of interior design with architecture and conservation. The BFA in Interior Architecture is a four-year degree program in which you take courses across a variety of disciplines. This includes literary arts, philosophy, and the theory and history of design.
The degree covers 126-credit hours of study. You will take classes such as:
- Spatial Dynamics
- Introduction to Interior Studies
- History of Interior Architecture
- Building Structures and Systems for Adaptive Reuse
Finishing this degree requires that you complete a senior project that pulls together concepts learned throughout the previous three years of the program.
By laying a foundational knowledge of design, the Associate of Science in Interior Design Technology from Palm Beach State College will teach you the skills needed to be a successful interior designer.
The program can be completed in two years if you study full-time or three-to-four years if you go to school part-time. Once enrolled in this program, you’ll learn subjects such as:
- Design process
- Elements and principles of design
- Building systems
- Regulations and guidelines
- Residential and commercial design
After completing this online interior design degree program and gaining the necessary two-to-three years of professional work experience, you will be eligible to sit for the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) examination. This is considered the gold standard in the interior design profession.
If you dream of completing a bachelor’s degree, you can transfer the credits earned from the AS in Interior Design Technology to one of Palm Beach State College’s bachelor’s programs.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Berkeley College prepares you for the next step in your education or career. By completing this degree, you can pursue entry-level employment in interior design. Alternatively, you can continue your education and get a master’s degree. Either way, this program gives you a solid foundation upon which to build.
Some of the courses you’ll take in this program include:
- Sketching and Color Composition
- Space Planning
- History of Architecture and Interior Design
- Materials, Textiles, and Finishes
- Architectural Construction and Methods
This is a CIDA-accredited program. Additionally, completing this degree allows you to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification Examination.
Another top option for “interior design online degree accredited” is from Scottsdale Community College.
Scottsdale Community College is a partner with Northern Arizona University. This makes it easier for you to complete an associate’s degree, like the Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design, and continue your education through a bachelor’s program at NAU.
The AAS in Interior Design through SCC is a career-ready degree that prepares you for employment upon graduation. You never know if you’ll end up going back to school later to complete your bachelor’s, which is where this degree and its partnership with NAU comes in handy.
The AAS degree has a total credit requirement ranging from 65-73 credit hours of work. This can be completed on either a full- or part-time basis. The full-time pathway consists of four terms. You’ll carry a course load of 12-18 credit hours per semester. If you want a slower pace, or if you have work or family obligations, you can select the part-time pathway. It’s completed over ten terms, with 11 credit hours or less of coursework a semester.
The University of Wisconsin-Stout knows the world is a fast-moving, ever-changing place that requires innovation and creative thinking to stay relevant. That’s why cutting-edge skills are incorporated into its Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design program.
What makes this degree unique is your ability to study related disciplines, such as video game design, graphic design, or studio art, along your journey to graduation. This cross-disciplinary approach to learning is how the school fosters innovation and creative thinking in its students.
This MFA degree program is 60 credit hours in length. The core curriculum consists of 30 credit hours. In the core curriculum, you’ll take classes such as:
- Sustainable Design Practice
- History of Design Seminar
- Research Strategies in Design
- Ethics in Design
Additionally, you must complete a thesis component that’s worth nine credit hours.
Competitive applicants to this program need a bachelor’s degree in design, art, or a related field. You must also have a 3.0 minimum undergraduate GPA.
Are you not interested in going back to school for a few years? If so, you’ll want to check out UCLA Extension’s Interior Design: Foundation Level certificate program. With estimated program tuition of around $15,000, it’s a reasonable investment that can pay off when you start working as an interior designer.
What’s more, the school allows students who complete this program with a 3.0 GPA or higher and who already hold a bachelor’s degree to apply to the school’s Master of Interior Architecture program.
This certificate program consists of 18 courses: 16 core classes and two electives. You can also take advantage of mentorship opportunities, internships, and job placement facilitated through the school.
Additionally, this program meets the educational eligibility requirement for students to be able to take the National Council of Interior Design Qualification examination, which grants certification in the field.
Next on our list of “online interior design programs accredited” is Stephen F. Austin’s master’s degree.
With both a thesis and a non-thesis degree option, you can enroll in a master’s degree program in interior design that’s a good fit for your needs.
The school offers a Master of Science in Human Science with an emphasis in Interior Design to its students. The program consists of 30-36 credit hours of coursework, depending on whether you select the thesis option (30 credits) or the non-thesis option (36 credits).
The thesis option includes nine credit hours dedicated to the human science core curriculum. Classes you’ll take in this program include:
- Interior design studio
You’ll also take courses related to designing spaces in medical and acute care settings. The non-thesis option features the same core curriculum, with the addition of a course in Service Management in Human Sciences.
The Certificate Program in Interior Design and Interior Architecture from the University of California Berkeley Extension allows you to take the California Council for Interior Design Certification and the National Council for Interior Design Qualification certification exams. This program may be particularly suited to your needs if you reside in the Golden State due to the opportunity to obtain two different certifications.
This certificate program consists of 23-25 courses for a total of 61 semester units of work. The core curriculum includes 21 courses, or 57 semester units. You’re able to focus on particular subjects that interest you with the two-to-four elective course requirement.
One of the only prerequisites to register for this program is that you must hold a bachelor’s degree. The field doesn’t matter, either – you can apply regardless of the subject of your current bachelor’s degree .
Whether you choose American River College’s Associate of Arts in Interior Planning and Design or one of the school’s many design certificates, you’ll learn from professors who genuinely care about you and your future success.
The school offers certificates in Para-Professional Interior Planning and Design and Interior Retail Merchandising certificates. The AA in Interior Planning and Design is a 60-credit-hour program that allows you to obtain a comprehensive understanding of design principles. You’ll complete 40-43 credit hours of design-specific coursework.
Certificate programs range from 15 credit hours to 40 credit hours of coursework to complete. The Para-Professional Interior Planning and Design consists of 40 credit hours. The Interior Retail Merchandising Certificate features 15 credit hours.
With so many choices, you can tailor your educational experience to your specific needs. Likewise, you can pursue a shorter certificate if you don’t have the time to enroll in a full associate’s program.
The online programs from the Academy of Art University feature the same high-quality curricula that its in-person courses cover. The only difference is that with online classes, you have the convenience and flexibility to complete the work on your own schedule.
Both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture & Design are offered online. The school’s BFA program is composed of 132 credit hours of coursework, with the core curriculum consisting of 36 credit hours. The Interior Architecture & Design major coursework totals 42 credit hours.
Expanding interior design knowledge and the understanding of advanced theory is what the school’s MFA degree program aims to do for you. The MFA includes 63 credit hours of coursework, which is completed over six semesters of study. If accepted into the MFA program, you’ll have to complete a thesis project before you graduate with your degree.
13. Century College
If you live in or near Minnesota, you should check out Century College’s hybrid Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design and Interior Design Associate Diploma programs. The school also offers a 30-credit-hour certificate in Home Furnishing Sales for interested students.
The AAS in Interior Design is a 60-credit-hour program designed to be completed over four semesters of full-time study. Of the 60-credit-hour total, 44-credits are spent teaching you how to become an interior designer. Prior to graduation, you will create a design portfolio and participate in an interior design internship.
The Interior Design Associate Diploma consists of 48 credit hours of coursework that are also typically completed over four semesters. The diploma program’s core interior design curriculum allows you to learn interior design over 42 credit hours of discipline-specific study. The remaining six credit hours are met by completing an English or communications class and by taking a three-credit-hour elective course.
Since the Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design is considered a terminal degree, if you acquire this level of education, you might be able to work anywhere you desire within the interior design field. This may range from teaching in college to opening your own interior design company.
The MFA in Interior Design from Brenau University is designed for individuals who already have a Bachelor’s in Interior Design, Architecture, or another related design field.
This university boasts an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, so if you need a little more attention, you can trust that you will get it in during your course of study.
What’s more, you’ll want to take advantage of the experienced faculty at this university, as all of them have experience working in real-world interior design jobs. When looking for “interior design schools online accredited,” having experienced faculty to guide your education is paramount.
If you pursue this degree, you’ll develop and teach undergraduate interior design students as well as complete a thesis project before graduating.
Do you already have a degree in interior design? Do you want to add to your skillset? Then this certificate program from Colorado State University might be a good fit!
This graduate certificate is in evidence-based design. Your studies focus on three areas: skill development, linking to research approaches, and theoretical understanding.
You’ll engage in evidence-based projects to help you develop a rich understanding of evidence-based design. The concepts you learn in each course will be applied to community projects. You’ll develop strong connections with colleagues throughout the community and within your cohort of classmates.
This is a short certificate program. There are just three courses worth nine credits, so the program can be completely relatively quickly. The courses must be taken in sequence, though.
The interior design diploma offered through Clary Sage College is a skills-based educational program that teaches you through hands-on projects. As a student in this program, you’ll learn how to make a space both functional and safe, all while developing a professional aesthetic unique to you as an interior designer. If you wish to pursue this diploma program, you can attend either in-person classes at the school’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, campus or study entirely online.
The diploma program was designed to be completed in under 15 months of study. This comes out to around 59-60 weeks. If you’re eager to start working toward the diploma, you’re in luck! Classes start every three weeks at Clary Sage College.
You’re also eligible to apply for scholarships, some of which cover 100% of the tuition costs. Be sure to check if you qualify for financial aid!
If you’re a working design professional and want to take your expertise and knowledge to a new level, then check out Chatham University’s Master of Science in Interior Architecture.
This program is designed for anyone who has a bachelor’s degree in interior design, interior architecture, or architecture. Your studies emphasize the theory of design, so you can walk into any space and understand the individual components that enhance or take away from the design.
The MSIA program includes 30 credit hours of study. You can focus your studies on specific building types, user groups, or design issues. In this program, you will take classes such as:
- Interior Architecture Inquiry
- Issues in Interior Architecture
- Supervised Teaching
There is also a thesis component. The thesis can be original research or a creative design project.
Tuition is $1,047 per credit hour, but you’ll get what you pay for because this is a top-notch education in advanced interior design.
If you’re someone who wants to learn advanced concepts in interior design, then Boston Architectural College’s online Master of Science in Interior Architecture program may be right for you. This interior design degree online accredited program aims to teach you how to use color, light, and materials to create spaces that promote humans’ physical and mental health and well-being.
This graduate program consists of 30 credit hours of coursework. You will take classes that include:
- Case Studies in Interiors and Furniture
- Design Strategies for Interiors
- Human and Social Factors in Interiors
These classes emphasize hands-on work to gain a thorough understanding of interior design.
You must complete a thesis to get your degree. The thesis component includes a course in conducting research strategies and another course in guided research.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design provides you with a comprehensive and well-rounded education in design principles.
This accredited interior design degree covers areas such as:
- lighting design
- space planning
- interior materials and systems
- manual drafting and computer-aided design
- environmental and human behavior
- construction documents and contracts
You will also be exposed to a wide variety of related disciplines, such as graphic design and architecture, during this program. This gives you a broad knowledge base from which to draw in your designs.
The BFA in Interior Design program consists of 126 credit hours of work. The coursework is segmented into 15 credit hours of foundational courses, 39 credit hours of liberal arts education, and 66 credit hours of interior design. You must also complete six credit hours of studio electives. As you progress through the program, you’ll be exposed to new ideas and learn how to use increasingly complex design tools.
20. Goddard College
The final entry on our list of “interior design degrees online accredited” is Goddard College.
At Goddard, it’s understood that art is individualized and that no two artists are the same. That’s why there is an MFA program in Interdisciplinary Arts.
This program is designed to give you the flexibility to explore and develop your own unique artistic talents. You’ll learn artistic concepts that can be applied across a variety of situations and contexts.
This program is not entirely online, which may be a problem for some. Each semester requires that you travel to the main campus for an eight-day residency.
This MFA is a 60-credit-hour program. It takes about five semesters to complete.
There are two locations that you can go to complete their eight-day residency requirements each semester: the school’s main campus in Plainfield, VT, or the Port Townsend, WA, campus.
If you’re accepted into this program, you can choose to concentrate your studies in either Indigenous and Decolonial Art or Performance Creation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind of Job Can I Get After I Graduate With An Interior Design Degree?
After graduating from your interior design program, you may think that you’ll only be able to work as an interior designer, but you may be surprised to find that there are a variety of careers you can choose to pursue.
The majority of people that attend an interior design program will, in fact, want a career as an interior designer, so let’s take a minute to look at what this career has to offer.
Interior designers can go by various titles, including “Residential Designer,” “Interior Design Coordinator,” “Interior Design Consultant,” “Interior Design Director,” and many others. O*NET states that interior designers, “plan, design, and furnish interiors of buildings.” The overwhelming majority of interior designers are also reported to have a bachelor’s degree, while only 10% of working interior designers have only an associate’s degree.
As of 2023, there were a reported 87,000 individuals employed as interior designers. The profession isn’t projected to grow much, though. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that there will be little job growth through 2030. That means that there will be an estimated 7,800 job openings available during this period.
If you want to expand your skillset and move into related areas of interior design, you’ll want to look into becoming a marketing manager. Interior designers are trained to assess and meet customer demands, which gives them an ideal background to be successful as a marketing manager. Many interior designers end up doing their own marketing to promote their company’s brand, which will give you the first-hand experience necessary to manage a marketing campaign.
It’s reported that around 56% of marketing managers have a bachelor’s degree, while 24% have a master’s degree.
There are many other options you can explore in terms of employment with an interior design degree. You might consider researching the following careers:
- Real estate agent
- Graphic designer
- Furniture designer
- Kitchen and bath designer
- Design consultant
- Floral designer
- Lighting designer
This is just a selection of potential careers you might consider. With a degree in interior design, the sky is the limit!
See also: Best 15 Online Associate Degree Programs
How Much Can I Expect to Make With An Interior Design Degree?
Attending one of the accredited online interior design schools listed above can lead to a very lucrative career.
Becoming a marketing manager can pay off, as this career is reported to have a median annual salary of $133,380! While there are quite a few professionals currently employed as marketing managers, the profession is expected to grow faster than average, with a growth rate of 10% through the end of the decade.
Another vocational avenue for interior designers that incorporates the best of interior design and marketing is starting one’s own interior design firm. As the owner of a firm, you’re responsible for getting work for interior designers who you employ as well as ensuring your customers are satisfied with the service. With great responsibility comes the potential for large financial rewards, which depends on the quality of the service provided, the number of interior designers employed, and the size of your market, among other factors.
For example, architectural firms in San Francisco or New York likely pay interior designers and decorators much more than what an independent designer in a rural community in the Midwest makes. The demand for interior design services is generally higher in urban areas, and larger firms tend to pay higher salaries, too.
Can I Learn What I Need To Be Successful in An Online Program for Interior Design?
Whether you can learn what you need to know to be successful in an online program depends on a few factors. One of the most important factors to consider is whether or not you can learn in an online environment. Some students at interior design schools have more difficulty with this than others. You can test out how you learn by auditing an online course to get a sense of what online learning is like.
If you audit a course, some key aspects of online learning you’ll need to master are time management and organization. Keep an eye on your ability to get tasks done in a timely fashion. Also be aware of your ability to communicate well with your professors and classmates in an online environment.
The online programs on this list give you the information you need to become an interior designer, but one aspect that cannot be missed in your education for this career is hands-on learning. This is why many of the programs we’ve listed here require you to perform an internship with a professional interior designer.
During your internship you’ll design functional spaces, consult with other designers on projects, and perhaps even take the lead in designing for a client. Your mentor will be there to help you use the appropriate textiles, paint colors, and other finishes, so your project is completed to the client’s expectations.
If your program does not include this aspect, you’ll want to seek an interior design mentor who will teach you how to implement the knowledge you learn in the classroom and who may lead you to your first design career opportunity!
Should I Pursue Certification?
You’ll find that many interior design jobs don’t require certification. But it still might be a good idea, primarily because it demonstrates to employers and clients that you’ve gone above and beyond to get the training and acquire the necessary knowledge to be a successful interior designer.
If you choose to pursue a certification, it’s worthwhile to get the Council for Interior Design Qualification. To do so, you must pass the NCIDQ Exam, for which you must apply and be accepted. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can buy the three-part exam and schedule a time to take each of the three subtests, which include:
- Fundamentals Exam (IDFX)
- Professional Exam (IDPX)
- Practicum Exam (PRAC)
Each subtest focuses on health, safety, and welfare issues as they pertain to interior design. As a NCIDQ certificate holder, you show your competency in applying best practices to ensuring the safety of the public.
Not only is it important to get certified, but you should also commit yourself to continuing education. Constantly updating your skillset and knowledge base will help you stay on top of the latest trends in interior design.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education outside of interior design schools, then you should check out the 30 Most Affordable Online Business Bachelor’s Degrees and 25 Accredited Online Colleges for Graphic Design!