There are many online interior design degree programs, but only a few are recognized by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), the professional organization for interior designers. The ASID is not an accrediting body. The Council for Interior Design (CIDA) is the only professional accrediting body for interior design schools and so far has only accredited two online programs.
The Council for Interior Design Accreditation
The CIDA is "an independent, non-profit accrediting organization for interior design education programs at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada." While the CIDA boasts having accredited 150 interior design programs, only three of those are online degree programs.
Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA
The Academy of Art University is a CIDA accredited school and offers through its School of Interior Architecture & Design degrees in Interior Architecture and Design with a focus on areas of commercial, hospitality, residential and sustainable designs.
Your coursework is made up of online instructional videos, audio enhanced slideshows, instructors are connected to the interior design industry, videos of interviews with field experts, instructors provide you with real time feedback and mark ups on your submitted works. You can have real time conversations with classmates and see what they have created.
- Master of Fine Arts (MFA): The Master's degree core curriculum integrates theory, design, and technology.
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA): 132 semester units. Once approved, the final project is exhibited professionally.
- Second Degree Program (BFA): Students with existing Bachelor degrees can complete an additional 66 units for a second BA degree.
- Associate of Arts (AA): This is an excellent degree choice for entry-level positions with design firms and companies.
Online tuition for the Academy of Art University is the same as "in-person courses" minus lab fees.
- Application fee: $50
- Enrollment fee: $95
- Course Fees: $400 average per semester
- Materials/Supplies: $540 per semester
- Total Annual Online Undergraduate Tuition: $26,399
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) offers just one online CIDA accredited degree. You will receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design (BFA) degree at the completion of your degree program.
The design disciplines you'll study include architecture, graphic design, environmental design, and industrial design. The college's learning management system provides you with a strong artistic and technical knowledge base for learning the principles of interior design with sustainable design specialization.
Your online coursework difficulty is a gradual build up that allows you to accumulate the necessary skills as you move from one module to the next. Your degree is different from many interior design schools since it has a heavy focus on sustainable design with the goal of being environmentally responsible in your designs.
You will have the guidance and instruction of the online faculty who are practicing industry professionals. Their expertise provides you with hands on real world experience that is an invaluable learning experience from mentors and instructors.
The online tuition can be paid with a four-month payment plan.
- Online Programs: $544 per credit hour (does not include books and other fees)
- There is a one-time application processing fee of $50
- Program fee: $990 per semester
Yorkville University, Ontario, CA
Yorkville University formerly Radio College of Canda (RCC Institute of Technology) offers an online Bachelor of Interior Design degree program. The program is accredited by the CIDA, ARIDO (Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario) and IDC (Interior Designers of Canada).
The degree program offers hands-on training by professionals who have experience in the industry. When completed, you are eligible to sit for the National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam. This certification is required in some Canadian regions.
You can participate in the accelerated program and complete your coursework in three years or less. Your coursework will provide you with the interior design industry standard knowledge and design skills. You'll advance via internship work, volunteer work, and ultimately creation of your portfolio. You have access to a 24/7 tutoring support.
The online tuition is given in Canadian dollars (CAD). The total cost of your degree program is $69,300 (subject to change with any changes announced three months before the term begins). Other fees not included in the tuition include textbooks, equipment, expendable supplies, and resource fees. The fees stated are in Canadian dollars (CAD).
Choosing the Right Design School
These online degree programs have several advantages since they are approved by the ASID however, that doesn't mean you're limited to just these online offerings. There are many other legitimate and worthy online programs that you may wish to explore before committing to a specific online degree program. Decide what type of design you wish to pursue and then select the program that will best support you in obtaining your goals. When comparing programs, look for ones that will train you well enough that as soon as you graduate, you'll be capable of stepping into a designer position.
While you'll have a learning curve that can only be met through on-the-job experience, joining professional organizations such as ASID will give you opportunities to network with other people within your profession and continue learning your craft.
CIDA Accredited Online Interior Design School
You have three outstanding choices of online interior design schools with different degree options. When you undertake an online degree program, you have the opportunity to work at your own pace.