10 Best Interior Design Schools in the US

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NYSID top interior design school

Considering a creative career is an exciting prospect. But before diving into fascinating course material, you must pick your school. The best way to find yours is by researching the top interior design schools. So, to help narrow your options, we’ve put together the best of the best in North America.

What to Know Before Applying to Interior Design Schools

Work by Decorilla designers from top interior design schools - Arlen A

Work by Decorilla designers from top interior design schools


Identifying the best interior design schools right for you can be tricky. But once you know what to look for, the process can be simple. First, consider your criteria. Think about what you want out of your studies and go from there.

Study nook for studying interior design degrees online - nathalie ii

Study nook for studying interior design degrees online by Decorilla designer, Nathalie I.


Here are a few topics sure to narrow down your list of potential institutions:

  • Where and how you want to study will play a significant part in your decision. If you prefer to learn remotely, you can narrow your list to interior design schools that offer degrees or courses online. Whereas if you’re set on a specific location, it will naturally limit your choices. 
  • The module structure of interior design programs varies from one school to the next. Pay attention to the credit and examination requirements as well as the extras they offer. An additional skill, like learning how to present your work for online interior design jobs, can be beneficial in the long term. 
  • Opportunities are what could lead to your dream job. Take a closer look at your list of interior design schools to see which offer bolstering classes or mentorship programs.
  • Accreditation should top your list. Why? Many firms prefer interior designers who earned their certificate programs from credible institutions. In the US, one to certainly look for is the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), a well-known and trusted industry authority.
  • The course fees and payment structure could also dictate which interior design program fits you best. But keep in mind many schools also offer scholarships and financial assistance. 

It’s never too early to start thinking about your interior design career. Once you complete your studies Submit Your Portfolio to apply to one of the best online interior design firms!

10 Best Interior Design Schools

Creative living by top designers from interior design schools - Meric S

Creative living by top Decorilla designers from interior design schools


Whether you’re looking for an associate or bachelor degree in interior design, the best schools know the industry. You’ll learn how to call design trends as well as get to nitty-gritty aspects like the hiring process of an interior designer. So, let’s get to the top private and public schools in the US. 

1. New York School of Interior Design (NYSID)

New York School of Interior Design - One of the top interior design schools in the world

At the NYSID, all courses are based on the principle that successful interior design “improves human welfare”. For this reason, the private college’s interior design and decorating classes are thorough. The faculty ensures students can both take on any career in the industry and be an asset to any team. In fact, NYSID boasts an impressive job placement rate of 90% for undergraduates and 96% for graduates. 

In addition to its degrees, NYSID offers off-campus study programs and pre-college courses. The former takes students abroad to experience diverse built environments. 

New York School of Interior Design Private college of interior design

NYSID’s facilities


Where: Manhattan, New York City

Academic Programs: Basic Interior Design Certificate, Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.), and Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Interior Design. Five graduate (M.F.A. and M.P.S.) programs are also available. 

Online Learning: Yes 

CIDA Accredited: Yes

Cost: Tuition starts at $1,150 per credit for undergraduates and $1,300 per credit for graduate programs. 

Student Opportunities: NYSID helps students prepare for their careers in many ways. These include workshops, networking opportunities, and annual portfolio reviews. 

hire an interior designer - how much does it cost

2. Design Institute of San Diego

Design Insitute of San Diego offers a degree in interior designing

Design Institute, a private college of interior design, offers small classes to ensure students get the most out of their studies. Its courses are also set to transform a passion for interior design into a successful career. It also focuses on sustainable design practices and social responsibility. You can view coursework from previous students to get an idea of the caliber required.

Students who finish their studies go on to find job opportunities soon after graduating. In 2018, 84% of students found placement in an interior design field within six months of graduation.

Design Institute - Interior design classes

Design Institute’s campus


Where: San Diego, California  

Academic Programs: B.F.A. in Interior Design and Master of Interior Design (M.I.D.).

Online Learning: Yes, Design Institute’s interior design master’s degree has the option of online learning. 

CIDA Accredited: Yes

Cost: B.F.A. tuition starts at $925 (full-time students) and $1,134 (part-time students). M.I.D. tuition starts at $1,400 per credit. 

Student Opportunities: Design Institute has an externship as part of the undergraduate’s third year. It lets students get a taste of the professional environment as well as build a network of contacts and trade resources. 

3. Academy of Art University

Academy of Art interior design degrees online

With many degrees on offer, the Academy of Art University has a vast campus spread out through San Francisco. This means studies come with vibrant student life as well as higher learning.

Prospective interior design students will attend the School of Interior Architecture & Design. Here conceptual, theoretical, and practical teaching is equally important. Graduates can succeed in many careers, including becoming visualization specialists and project designers. 

Interior design certificate program - Academy of Art School of Interior Architecture & Design

Academy of Art design studio


Where: San Francisco, California 

Academic Programs: Associate of Arts (A.A.), B.F.A., Master of Arts (M.A.), and M.F.A. degrees as well as a 4-year interior design certificate program. 

Online Learning: Yes

CIDA Accredited: Yes

Cost: Tuition starts at $1,041 per credit for undergraduate programs and $1,171 per credit for graduate courses. 

Student Opportunities: At times, practical tasks are real-world projects students need to complete. They are often for corporate clients with strict deadlines. 

4. Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD)

BEst interior design programs - SCAD

DesignIntelligence and Red Dot Design Rankings rank SCAD as one of the top (if not the best of) interior design schools in the US. The college of interior design’s programs also give students access to SCADpro, an in-house consultancy. Here students can get real industry experience first-hand.

Courses open doors to many careers, from interior design to health care facility design. Students can also begin early with their pre-college program.

College of interior design - SCAD

Savannah College of Art & Design’s campus


Where: Savannah, Georgia, and satellite campuses in Atlanta, Georgia, and Lacoste, France 

Academic Programs: B.F.A., M.A., and M.F.A. in Interior Design. 

Online Learning: Yes, SCAD offers an M.A. in Interior Design online. 

CIDA Accredited: Yes

Cost: One-hour credit starts at $852, while the average annual tuition is $38,340. 

Student Opportunities: SCAD helps students in many ways. They include resume development, mock interviews, teaching self-promotion, and assisting in finding internships. 

5. Parsons – The New School

The New School - Parsons - Interior design schools online

Despite its name, Parson’s interior design had been around for a while. It started in 1906 and joined The New School, a progressive institution known for its social research, in 1970. As a result, the intensive curriculum was born. It ensures students consider all aspects of a constructed environment. 

The New School of Parsons brings comprehensive and diverse learning experiences. Students often need to collaborate with others across minors to develop critical thinking. Parsons also offers intensive studies for pre-college students as well as an academy for students between grades 3 to 12.

PArsons the New School degree in interior designing

Parsons’s class facilities


Where: New York City

Academic Programs: A.A.S., B.F.A., and M.F.A. in Interior Design.

Online Learning: Yes. Non-credit interior design and decorating certificates and classes, but not degrees, are online.

CIDA Accredited: Yes

Cost: Per-credit tuition starts at $1,810 while a semester roughly costs $26,854.  

Student Opportunities: Parsons helps students find and apply for internships in New York. 

6. FIT State University of New York

Best interior design programs - FIT

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is a public college that offers many creative degrees. Interior design, however, is a favorite. Here, students expand their approach to innovation, equity, diversity, and sustainability.

FIT has two interior design programs that follow sequentially. This means you will have to complete one before applying for the interior design bachelor degree. Afterward, students can look forward to a spot in many specialized fields, including furniture production and real estate.

FIT interior design schools online

Fashion Institute of Technology’s campus


Where: New York 

Academic Programs: A.A.S. and B.F.A. in Interior Design.

Online Learning: Yes. Students can tailor their degree in interior designing by selecting the necessary credit courses. However, they will still need to write exams through a proctor. 

CIDA Accredited: Yes, the B.F.A. degree is CIDA accredited.  

Cost: Tuition starts at $2,645 per semester or $220 per hour credit. 

Student Opportunities: Students have plenty of networking opportunities. Moreover, FIT graduates have a high recruitment rate thanks to the school’s reputation. 

7. Auburn University

Auburn University - interior design schools online

In the past few years, all Auburn University interior design graduates have found job placements. For this reason, acceptance is highly selective. Once in, students must complete a pre-design academic year before evaluation. And only then the best are accepted to complete the interior design certificate program within nine semesters.

Students can expect a multi-disciplinary education that teaches communication and teamwork. Hiring firms certainly appreciate and admire this method. And DesignIntelligence rate Auburn University highly as a result. 

Auburn University interior design certificate program

Auburn University’s campus


Where: Auburn, Alabama

Academic Programs: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Interior Design, and Master of Science (M.S.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) in Consumer and Design Sciences.   

Online Learning: No. Auburn is one of the interior design schools that don’t offer online courses because their curriculum is labor-intensive. 

CIDA Accredited: Yes

Cost: Tuition starts at $5,915 per semester for Alabama residents and $15,993 for out-of-state residents. 

Student Opportunities: Auburn University’s excellent reputation certainly counts. Students typically receive no less than one job offer after graduation. 

8. Drexel University

Drexel University - interior decorating and design classes

“Ambition can’t wait!” urges Drexel University’s website. Their rigorous curriculum makes their keen focus, especially with the compulsory co-op program. Students must complete two terms working for top employers in their chosen field.

Intensive practicals structure the interior decorating and design classes. And the hard work culminates with a senior project in the last year of undergraduate study. Drexel also has many options for studying abroad that allow students to broaden their education.

Drexel university - top interior design classes

One of Drexel University’s classrooms


Where: Philadelphia 

Academic Programs: B.S. in Interior Design with the opportunity to add an accelerated degree. This includes an M.S. in Interior Architecture, Design Research, or Urban Strategy. A Master of Interior Architecture & Design is also available.

Online Learning: No. Classes are practical-intensive, which means Drexel interior design degrees can’t be online. 

CIDA Accredited: Yes

Cost: Tuition starts at $1,273 per hour credit for part-time students, while full-time students can expect roughly $18,865 per term. 

Student Opportunities: The undergrad degree requires in-field hours. Accordingly, students need to complete six months of co-op work experience at a reputable design firm.

9. SAID – University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati offers interior design masters degree

The School of Architecture and Interior Design (SAID) has a range of architecture and interior design programs. Regardless of their choice, students learn how to take risks in their approach to design. The aim is to expand innovation in the built environment as well as improve how students handle problems.

In short, students develop many skills for school and real-life projects. These include integrating research, navigating the unexpected, as well as promoting eco design.

University of Cincinnati interior decorating classes

University of Cincinnati’s campus


Where: Cincinnati, Ohio 

Academic Programs: B.S. in Architecture, B.S. in Interior Design, M.I.D., Master of Architecture (M.Arch), M.S. in Architecture, and Ph.D. in Architecture.

Online Learning: No

CIDA Accredited: Yes

Cost: Tuition credit per hour starts at $266 for part-time students and $3,182 per semester for full-time in-state residents. 

Student Opportunities: Like a Drexel degree, SAID also has compulsory co-op programs. This encourages students to gain industry experience first-hand and get a foot in the door. 

10. Arizona State University

Arizona state university offers interior design bachelors in science degree

The Design School at Arizona State University is fast-paced to prepare students for the challenges that arise in the industry. As one of the best interior design schools in the country, this design college has certainly earned its reputation.

After completing the undergrad degree, students can pursue the two-year Master of Interior Design (M.I.A.) program. But if you have a degree in another field, you can apply for the three-year M.I.A. program instead.

Arizona state university campus best interior design schools

Arizona State University’s campus


Where: Tempe, Arizona

Academic Programs: Interior Design History (minor), B.S.D. in Interior Design, and M.I.A.

Online Learning: Yes. Although an interior design bachelor degree isn’t available online, a few short courses in design are open. 

CIDA Accredited: Yes

Cost: Tuition starts at $500 per credit for undergraduate and $650 for graduate degrees. 

Student Opportunities: Students are well-equipped and likely to find intern positions. After all, students become transformative thinkers at The Design School. 

Complete Your Degree – Start Earning

If you want to put your degree in interior designing to the test, become a Decorilla team member. We’re always on the lookout for fresh skilled design talent. So, once you complete your studies, submit your portfolio today!

[Feature image: NYSID]

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