Online Master’s Programs In Interior Design

Online programs are an excellent option for working professionals, which allow students to work at their own pace with flexible course options.

Updated September 21, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s Programs In Interior Design

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Careers and Salaries with a Graduate Degree in Interior Design

Interior design melds style, art, psychology, and architecture into one exciting career choice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), interior designers earned an average salary of $51,500 in 2017, with the upper 10% of professionals earning $93,780 per year. Working professionals who earn a master's in interior design online have the potential to use their creativity and education to earn a healthy salary.

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What Can I Learn in an Online Master's in Interior Design Program?

While each program differs in curriculum and learning goals, students can expect an interior design program to cover design, organization, billing practices, accessibility considerations, building codes, and architectural blueprints. Graduates are prepared for a career designing homes or industrial spaces. The typical master's program in interior design takes two to three years to complete, usually about 33 to 45 credits.

Online programs are an excellent option for working professionals, which allow students to work at their own pace with flexible course options.

What common courses are offered in a master's in interior design program?

Though most interior design programs require a certain amount of generalized coursework, available specializations and electives vary by school. Before selecting a program, research the course catalogue. The following five courses are a sample curriculum.

What exams or projects should I expect?

Many interior design programs require a thesis or capstone project. Research projects aim to expand student's professional skill sets. Projects can often be used in professional portfolios. For example, an interior design master's student might write a thesis paper on problems in interior design. Another program may require students to prepare an original exhibition showcasing designs and including supportive literature.

What elective courses are available in a master's in interior design program?

Many master's in interior design online programs offer specialized coursework for a specific career path. Concentrations can focus on unique environments or design components. While elective offerings depend on the school, three sample courses are listed below.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Interior Design Degree?

Earning a master's degree in interior design can help prepare learners for employment in speciality fields. Graduates can find employment in interior design positions, or pursue additional training or certifications. The list below outlines five occupations that master's in interior design graduates may choose to pursue, though earning a degree does not guarantee immediate eligibility for these roles.

Interior Designer

Interior designers have multiple roles, from decorating and furnishing spaces to ensuring a buildings safety. Designers focus on the aesthetics of buildings, like color schemes, lighting, art, decoration, and layout. Those who develop and design new buildings work with blueprints and building schematics to outline functional elements, like electrical layouts and accessibility.

Architect

Architect's design, develop, and supervise the creation of new structures. They must complete a bachelor's degree, an internship, and pass a registration exam. Many master's programs offer a combination of architecture and interior design studies. This advanced education prepares students for specialized employment and managerial positions where they can develop innovative and functional structures.

Industrial Designer

Industrial designers develop products for daily use, including cars, toys, furniture, and housewares. Designers who pursue a master's in interior design have a specialized education. They can focus on the development of furniture or home appliances.

Landscape Architect

Landscape architects specialize in the design of outdoor spaces, such as parks and private gardens. They work with clients to prepare and implement plans and a budget. Just as interior designers work to make indoor spaces accessible and functional, landscape architects make outdoor spaces attractive and practical. A master's degree in interior design teaches students foundational skills through classes like environmental psychology.

Art Director

As a managerial position, art directors oversee the design and production of visual content. They produce imagery for television, websites, magazines, or games. Art directors have an eye for space and function, and excel in a supervisory role. An art director who earned their master's degree in interior design can direct the design and documentation of movie sets, interior design photoshoots, or furniture and home furnishing sites.

Professional organizations provide opportunities for students and recent graduates to gain exposure to the field. Professional organizations grant members access to networking opportunities, continuing education resources, and industry recognition. Three major professional organizations for interior designers are listed below.

The International Interior Design Association

IIDA is the global branch of the Commercial Interior Design Association. IIDA focuses on supporting more than 15,000 members with educational opportunities, community outreach, professional networking, and accreditation resources. IIDA encourages members to develop expertise, connect with students and professionals, and ensure health and safety in design.

American Society of Interior Designers

ASID promotes sustainable, accessible, and human-centric design that positively impacts people. ASID's members gain access to a collaborative team that emphasizes advocacy, ethical practice, professional experience, continuing education, and evidence-based research.

Interior Design Society

IDS focuses on the residential interior design industry. It highlights four core values: professionalism, community, influence, and growth. IDS membership demonstrates an interior designer's commitment to ethics. Members can enter award programs and be featured on the IDS website and social media. Membership provides networking opportunities, continuing education credits, and discounted rates on professional certifications.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Interior Design?

Depending on each student's professional aspirations, earning a master's degree in interior design online prepares graduates to enter their ideal career. The table below shows salary ranges and growth rates of popular careers. While an advanced degree often leads to specialized opportunities and an increased salary, students may need to pursue advanced certifications or additional training for some of the career paths listed below.

Career Salary Potential
Job TitleLowest 10% Earned AnnuallyMedian Annual SalaryHighest 10% Earned AnnuallyJob Growth 2016-2026
Interior DesignerLess than $27,240$51,500More than $93,780+4%
ArchitectLess than $47,480$78,470More than $134,610+4%
Industrial DesignerLess than $36,430$65,970More than $106,950+4%
Landscape ArchitectLess than $40,480$65,760More than $108,470+6%
Art DirectorLess than $51,130$92,500More than $170,230+5%

Source: BLS

BLS projects an average growth rate of 7% for all occupations between 2016 and 2026. Interior design is heavily dependent on new construction; thus when construction slows down, designers experience a drop in their job prospects. As a focus on eco-friendly designs, accessible layouts, and new renovations increases; however, a resurgence in employment may occur.

According to the Center on Education and the Workforce, earning a master's degree in a subject similar to interior design, like architecture, prepares graduates for a more lucrative career than a bachelor's. PayScale indicates that the median salary for a professional with a master's in interior design is $51,000, as opposed to $40,000 for those with only an undergraduate degree. Regardless of the specific career path a student chooses, an advanced degree leads to increased earnings.

Online Master's in Interior Design Program Accreditation

As you begin researching schools and interior design programs, check each school's accreditation status. Accreditation means a school or program meets or exceeds national standards. Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the Department of Education recognize both national and regional accrediting agencies. National accreditation, as awarded by the Higher Education Council, is generally for technical or vocational schools. Regional accreditation is more highly regarded, and includes the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Interior design programs can receive regional and national accreditation.

Students should also seek programmatic accreditation when researching programs. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation is approved by CHEA and focuses specifically on accrediting postsecondary interior design programs. Programmatic accreditation means a degree prepares students for professional careers and provides sufficient education for employment or certifications.

How to Pay for a Master's in Interior Design Degree

Paying for a master's in interior design online program can be a significant financial investment. Many options exist that can assist students with costs, including federal student aid and scholarship opportunities for graduate students. An online master's program allows learners to continue working while attending school, providing extra financial stability.

Best Online Master's in Interior Design Programs 2022

#1

Savannah College of Art and Design

School Information
Location Savannah, Georgia
Admission Rate 96%
Graduation Rate 70%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A great option for distance learners, Savannah College of Art and Design offers an e-learning program in interior design. The Georgia school reports that 1,808 students take online classes. The institution delivers an online MA in interior design program. The accredited curriculum meets high standards for academic excellence. The program's advanced training prepares graduates for interior design careers. The institution offers a student-to-faculty ratio of 20-to-1, giving students one-on-one attention from faculty.

The school’s website provides more information about support services and student organizations. The school offers affordable tuition rates and financial aid opportunities. This makes it easier for students to cover their educational expenses. The institution reports a 70% graduation rate for its programs.

Savannah College of Art and Design Facts:

Total Online Enrollment: 2,904

Number of Online Master’s Programs: 13

Graduate Tuition: $38,475/year in-state and out-of-state

The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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#2

Ball State University

School Information
Location Muncie, Indiana
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 67%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Ball State University's academic offerings include high-quality online undergraduate and graduate programs. The public institution delivers 113 online programs, including 30 master's programs for distance students. Degree-seekers can enroll in a variety of master's programs, including a master's degree in interior design. The online interior design program is ideal for students with busy schedules.

Learners develop transferable skills through core coursework and specialize during advanced interior design classes. Master's students can participate in experiential learning opportunities to apply skills and knowledge from program coursework. Master's degree-seekers typically graduate with their interior design degree in 1-2 years. For exact application deadlines and requirements, prospective applicants can speak with an admissions advisor.

The school charges online learners affordable tuition rates and offers institutional funding for eligible applicants. The institution's graduate tuition rates average $8,850 for in-state students and $21,954 for out-of-state learners. Enrollees at the accredited institution can qualify for federal financial aid programs. According to the school, 91% of the student body receives financial aid to fund their education.

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#3

Brenau University

School Information
Location Gainesville, Georgia
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 46%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A great option for distance learners, Brenau University offers an e-learning program in interior design. The Georgia school reports that 394 students take online classes. Online students can earn their MFA in interior design at the school. The accredited curriculum provides a rigorous course of study valued by employers. The degree strengthens knowledge and skills for careers in interior design. Learners receive one-on-one attention from faculty thanks to the school's student-to-faculty ratio of 10-to-1.

Students can learn more about online support services at the school's website. Graduate students pay affordable tuition rates and receive financial aid. This helps learners afford the master's degree with less debt. The college has a graduation rate of 46% for its programs.

Brenau University Fast Facts:

Total Online Enrollment: 1,685

Number of Online Master’s Programs: 21

Average Cost Per Credit: $816

Graduate Tuition: $12,834/year in-state and out-of-state

Brenau University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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