Interior Design School Degrees: Earning a Master’s Degree

A master’s degree at an accredited interior design school is the highest form of education for interior designers. Known as an Interior Design MA (Master of Arts) or MFA (Master of Fine Arts) Degree, this program allows students to enter into their industry at the highest starting wages possible. A master’s degree in interior design clears the path for management level positions, business ownership, and even college-level teaching jobs for graduates holding the degree.

Interior design schools that offer the master’s level degree to graduate students typically focus on design theory, research, and studio work. All other preliminary skills are learned during lesser degree programs, including classes that are categorized under the liberal arts label such as English composition. Some states require that mathematics and science credits be obtained before completing lesser degrees as well, but interior design schools typically offer equitable classes that are centered on the fashion design industry.

In lesser degrees at an interior design school, students learn how to sketch fashion design ideas, use methodically steps within the design process, and effectively implement their design ideas into real-world scenarios where client satisfaction is critical. They learn about human behavior and how the interior environments in which we choose to spend our time will ultimately impact our moods and activities. Before entering into the master’s program at an interior design school, students are able to perform the job of “interior designer” at most levels of the industry and from genesis to project completion.

In the MFA or MA program at an interior design school, this foundation knowledge is leaned upon to teach the advanced principles, theories, and philosophies of design. Students in the graduate program at most schools are also tasked with a large thesis project, wherein they demonstrate their full understanding of all the combine skills they have obtained throughout the course of the program. This will often include innovative designs, solution to social and economical problems, environmental impact and sustainability, as well as client and design relationships.

Many of the interior design classes offered through MFA programs cover the techniques of advanced research on a given project, criticizing and critiquing the student’s own work and the works of others, and applying their project skills to the greater realm of the business. Additionally, graduate student are typically expected to thoroughly understand the importance of presentation and pitching interior design concepts to an audience; as this will be the bases of their success in the business in the future.

Interior design schools provide a depth of understanding into the industry as well. Historical moments and the evolution of interior design throughout the world’s history, including case studies in many schools, are integrated into the curriculum for a master’s degree.


Interior Design Classes: Learning Architecture & Design

Interior design classes about architecture and design are often part of an overall program goal for a degree in interior design. As students progress through interior design school, they learn the fundamentals and advanced principles of design. Interior design classes such as architecture and design bring together some of the advanced skills learned so far while leaning heavily on the foundation knowledge earned earlier in the degree program.

Interior design and architecture classes combine skills, concepts, and the experience of previous projects to help students understand how interior architecture design fits into the interior design discipline. Students in these classes learn how to design interior architecture using computer generated graphics as well as hand-drawn models. Classes also include principles and execution of interior design presentations and research.

Typical interior design and architecture classes begin with an introductory project outline on which students will work throughout the class duration. Project analysis skills learned earlier in the interior design schools program are put to heavy use during this phase of the class work. Usually, the classes will cover commercial interior design as the primary source for project work and includes concept designs and developing a plan for commercial interior architecture.

Planning for spaces in a commercial structure and designing all interior elements of a commercial structure will often be the foundation of the class work throughout the remainder of the class. Students are often broken into project groups and each group is tasked with creating a unique commercial design.

Details covered in the project include elevation, construction, documentation, materials, finishes, and presentation of the design to a “client”. The perspectives of each room will be discussed and the small, but critical details in the project design are often exhaustively critiqued and discussed by the entire class.

Class materials for this type of interior design class can be extensive. However, many of the items required to successfully complete the course are often purchased for earlier classes and do not need to be purchased again in most cases. These items include typical interior design tools such as rulers and triangles, mechanical colored pencils, cutting mats, and similar drawing tools.

Textbooks in the subject of design standards for commercial planning and efficiency standards are often required for class as well. Some schools may require software purchases, but most of the work conducted in the class is hands-on and interior design schools typically have the software on-hand for students in this class.

At the end of interior design and architecture classes, students are able to design medium- to large-scale commercial spaces, consider the architecture requirements and standards for doing so, and present design plans to a client. Complicated design concepts and drafting skills are fine-tuned, as are skills in selecting lighting, finishing materials, furniture, and fixtures. The interior design class will reinforce principles about project deadline management, self-critiques, and terminology used in interior design and architecture.


Working Your Way through Interior Design School

Many students who want to practice interior design are dedicated and passionate enough to make it to the coveted “Master of Professional Studies in Interior Design” (MPSID) degree. However, some of those students may find it necessary to work while attending classes, making it much more difficult to put in the time required to get there. There is hope for those that are willing to go the extra mile, even if your personal situations make it seem as if you’ll never be able to make it.

Interior design schools offer an advantage over some other types of schools because, much like an architect would build a house, interior designers learn their profession in deliberate and methodical steps that build on the step before it. This means that working and going to school at the same time can be advantageous for the aspiring master of interior design.

Learning basic interior design in order to break into the market is a great way to get started, especially if you are in a financial position that requires you to get back to work as soon as possible (or continue working while attending classes). The good news is that, at most schools, completion of a certificate program is a requirement for applying to an advanced degree program.

Students who want to earn an advanced degree from an accredited interior design school are often tasked with first coming up with a portfolio of work through the school’s certificate program. Completing a school’s certificate program also qualifies the student for an entry level job in the industry. Entry level jobs in interior design often require at minimum, a certificate of completion in some sort of formal interior design school training. Since the certification program at most interior design schools is around 24-credit hours, it doesn’t take long to reach entry level status.

Eventually, it will be necessary to spend some time in the real world of interior design to complete the master’s degree program and working in the industry while completing studies is the best way to do that. (Not to mention the convenience of having an employer who is probably happy to help you since you share a passion for the art.)

After certification, students at an interior design school can apply to a degree program. If it is the students intent to make it to Master of Professional Studies, he or she will most likely be advised to complete an undergraduate degree (an AAS or BFA) before proceeding to the next level. This is because the next level, Master of Fine Arts, requires the student to know all of the things taught by the school at the AAS and BFA level.

Once here, it is only a matter of time before the degree program can be completed. It may be a matter of a lot of time, especially if you need to take part time class loads while working. But with the right set up and a good career counselor, taking deliberate steps through interior design school can really add up to a well-paid professional career.

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What Can Interior Design Schools Offer You?

Interior designers are very much in demand for their creative skills in devising livable interior spaces that are inviting, functional and visually appealing.  There is a growing interest in interior design schools because they teach courses that you cannot easily learn on your own.  Knowledge of color, composition, texture, lighting, design, health and safety are all topics that are dealt with in an interior design school.  In addition, it may soon become necessary get a degree in interior design or attend an accredited interior design school in order to get a job in this field.

Interior design schools can get you started in a rewarding career opportunity.  Students receive training to attain certificate or diploma programs such as BFA, BA, MFA and MA in interior design.  You can choose a course that suits your requirements and career goals.

Interior design involves the conversion of an indoor space into an environment that is aesthetically conducive to its intended purpose.  The conversion depends on the how a space will be used.  For instance, the interior design of a bedroom will differ from that of a bathroom or living area.

A formal education in interior design is recommended to get you started on the road to success.  Most interior design schools place major emphasis on drafting.  However, there are courses that will teach you about current trends in design, safety requirements, standard practices and other rules and regulations.

There are also online schools for those who cannot attend a full time program.  The programs offered by online interior design schools are similar to those on campus programs.  Students who take up online programs can take these classes from their own homes and on their own time.

The choice of an interior design school will depend on your career goals and current qualifications.  Getting a certificate is also a good option for becoming a professional interior designer.  You can move on to a BFA or BA program in the future.  Many interior design schools offer these programs.  They provide an excellent starting point for a successful career in interior design.

Selecting the best interior design school for your degree will depend on the type of degree you want to obtain.  You also have to consider the school’s location and how much the course will cost.  If you decide to enroll in an online interior design school, the location will no longer be a restriction.  You can use an online interior design school directory to help you search for the most suitable school for you.


What is the Job of a Commercial Interior Designer?

Commercial interior designers go beyond merely decorating commercial spaces.  Their jobs entail much more than this, playing a vital part in many public building projects.  A commercial interior design professional contributes to every phase in building or remodeling a commercial structure.  He sees to it that the final result ensures the safety, health and welfare of those who will be using the space.

Commercial interior design is a highly competitive field.  Interior designers design the layouts for commercial building including airport passenger terminals, shopp

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Interior Designer Jobs and Career Opportunities

Creativity, artistic talent and imagination are qualities of a good interior designer.  An interior designer job is a truly challenging but rewarding experience.  In this job, you have to be creative yet practical at the same time to achieve the desired results in meeting the demands of your clients.  Your job as an interior designer may include planning and organizing internal spaces in buildings and other structures.  You may also be required to produce designs for businesses, homes, hotels, public building, ships and aircraft.

To be an interior designer, you have to be part artist and part business professional.  While an interior designer job is exciting, it is not all glamour.  You must know how to handle people, work within a budget, and excel at client relationships.  You do all these while designing beautiful, functional spaces that meet building and safety codes.

Part of an interior designer job is to meet and negotiate with clients.  You will have to prepare basic design sketches for the client’s approval.  This will include color schemes, lighting, furnishing, fabrics, etc.  You will also have to provide the client with cost estimates.  Once the design has been finalized and approved, you will also help to monitor the progress of work if the client requests this.

If you are new at the profession, you will have to work your way up the ranks.  Your first interior designer job will most likely be as an assistant to an established interior designer in one of their many projects.  This is an excellent opportunity for you to gain experience and connect with others in the interior design industry.

There are a number of career opportunities within the industry.  You can specialize in interior decorating, interior design, commercial interior design, lighting design, set design, space planner, exhibit design, and the like.  An interior design degree gives you the opportunity to learn all of these specialties.  Interior design programs usually take four years to complete, but you can attend an online school or work for an AA degree that will put you in the work force much faster.

With a degree in interior design, you can join a company and have an interior designer job as trainee.  Use this opportunity to learn all you can and gather experience that will serve as a solid foundation to build your skills.

You may also choose to be self employed. This career option is best suited for those with plenty of experience in the industry.  You will not be receiving a regular monthly income but you will have flexible hours plus the prospect of earning potentially unlimited income.

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Interior Designer Salary

Interior designers do more than pick out curtains and chairs.  A top priority in their job description is to design interior space for function and safety.  Aesthetics play an important part as well, but the best interior designers are capable of creating useful, functional space of great beauty.  It is not surprising that top interior designers can earn a high salary.

Interior designers can earn an average of $45,000 in a year.  Most positions in this field require a 4-year college degree.  An interior designer’s salary depends to a great extent on his experience and the school where he graduated.  Other factors may come into play for the salary of an entry level position, including grades and geographical location.

Take note that an interior designer will always have a higher salary than an interior decorator.  This is because an interior designer is required to have more educational training and skills than an interior decorator.  While an interior decorator focuses on aesthetics, the interior designer needs to consider functionality and safety aspects as well.

An interior designer can earn a starting salary from $22,000 to $40,000.  The salary varies according to amount of experience, field of expertise, and specialization.  In general, interior designers who do commercial designing earn a higher income than those who do residential designing.  Likewise, a highly experienced and well established interior designer can earn a six-figure annual income.

Working within a specific industry can also account for variations in salary.  Interior designers who work in specialized design services and architectural, engineering and related services earn more than those working for furniture stores, building materials and supplies dealers.  Designers who work for engineering and architectural establishments earn an average of $53,000 a year.  Salaries increase as they gain more experience and exposure in the field.

Freelancers or self-employed interior designers are usually paid by the hour or on a per project basis.  In the USA, they usually earn between $35 to $124 per hour.  On an annual basis, freelance interior designers earn a salary of about $52,000.  You can earn a very good income as a freelancer.  However, it is a good idea to gain some experience first by working with an established interior designing firm before going off on your own.

Some established interior designers can earn a salary amounting to $100,000 a year.  If you are creative and artistically inclined with a love for mixing and matching furniture and fabrics, a career in interior design may be perfect for you.