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Overview of Associate of Science Degree in Interior Design

Majors Overview April 7, 2014

Students will be taught how to change the appearances of commercial or residential spaces, in an associate’s degree program in Interior Design. Those who graduate may continue onto a bachelor’s degree program in Interior Design, or pursue entry-level work.

Associate of Science (A.S.) Degree Programs in Interior Design

Students enrolled in these 2-year associate degree programs are introduced to basic design skills, including drafting, drawing and reading. They can also become adept in creating appropriate solutions for design problems. Students enrolled in some Interior Design programs are provided opportunities to participate in design competitions and internships. Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs that are offered by schools are typically devised to train graduates to seek entry-level jobs; schools also offer Associate of Science (A.S.) and Associate of Arts (A.A.) programs that allow the transfer of credits towards admission into bachelor’s degree programs.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria within an Interior Design program at the associate degree level typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Some schools expect submission of portfolios of artwork by prospective students. Some schools require portfolios containing images of design ideas devised by the applicants.


Coursework for Interior Design programs may often include courses devised to assist students obtain both design and business skills. Apart from decorative arts, students could be taught furniture design and textile design. Completion of a professional portfolio may also be required of students. Coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Color theory
•History of interior design
•Computer-aided design
•Kitchen and bath design
•Lighting design

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 19% has been projected for interior designers during the decade from 2008 to 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). This growth is expected to be driven by increasing demands for design services by the hospitality and health care industries. However, the demand is also expected to be driven by homeowners. This field is projected to stay competitive, as the number of design opportunities is much less than the number of professionals competing for them. In May 2012, interior designers earned an average annual wage of $47,600.

Licensure and Continuing Education Choices

Some associate degree programs allow the transfer of credits towards enrollment in a four-year bachelor’s degree program. Advanced topics such as cost estimating, design materials and building science are often covered in the coursework. The program could also involve the participation of students in a series of design studios. Licensure or certification is mandatory for interior designers in some states. Graduates of an associate degree program in Interior Design can qualify by gaining four to five years of supervised work experience, although three to four years would suffice for graduates of bachelor’s degree programs to qualify. After academic requirements are fulfilled, interested individuals must pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification’s three-part written exam.

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