Interior Design Certificate Vs Degree

May 8, 2023

What is Interior Design?

Interior design refers to the art of enhancing the interiors of a building by making it aesthetically appealing, functional, and comfortable. It involves creating interior spaces that satisfy human needs while reflecting the client's taste and style. An interior designer has to be creative, innovative, and practical to design spaces that are not only visually appealing but also functional to the people who will use them.

What are the Requirements for Interior Design Education?

If you want to start a career in interior design, you have to obtain the necessary education and training. Interior design is a creative field, and different individuals choose different paths to achieve their career goals. However, all designers need to have an understanding of design principles, interior construction, materials, and building codes.

The Differences Between an Interior Design Degree and Certificate

Interior design degrees and certificates are available at various educational institutions. The difference between the two lies in the depth of knowledge and skills taught and the time taken to complete the program. Below is a breakdown of the differences between an interior design degree and certificate.

Interior Design Certificate

An interior design certificate is a short-term program that takes between a few weeks and two years to complete. Certificates are often offered at community colleges, vocational schools, and online programs.

A certificate program is suitable for individuals who seek an introduction to interior design or want to enhance their skills to advance their careers in design. Certificate programs cover topics such as design principles, color theory, drawing skills, textiles, materials, and building codes.

Certificate programs offer a condensed curriculum with minimal general education courses, and students receive hands-on training in computer-aided design (CAD) software and other design tools. This program is suitable for students who have completed a high school diploma or GED.

Interior Design Degree

An interior design degree is a comprehensive program offered by accredited universities and colleges. It takes four years to complete and includes a range of courses beyond interior design, such as English, mathematics, history, and business studies.

Interior design degree programs offer a more in-depth exploration of design principles compared to a certificate program. They cover a wide range of courses such as drafting, rendering, lighting, space planning, and sustainability issues. Students in an interior design degree also receive training on CAD software as well as other business skills and are required to complete an internship to gain practical experience.

A degree program is suitable for individuals who want to gain more comprehensive knowledge and skills to pursue a career in interior design. An interior design degree can lead to a bachelor of fine arts, a bachelor of arts, or a related degree. The curriculum also focuses on the business aspects of interior design, including project management, budgeting, and marketing.

Which Program Should You Choose?

Choosing between an interior design certificate and degree program depends on your career goals and financial resources. An interior design certificate program requires minimal financial resources and is suitable for individuals who want to enhance their skills to move up in their career.

On the other hand, an interior design degree program is expensive and requires a long-term commitment. It is suitable for individuals who seek a career in interior design, including starting their interior design firms. It also offers a more comprehensive education with both theoretical and practical skills, making the degree holder more competitive in the job market.


Whether you choose an interior design certificate or degree program, the most important aspect is to choose an accredited program offered by reputable institutions. Both programs provide essential skills and knowledge required for a career in interior design. Consider your career goals, financial resources, and time commitment required to make an informed decision. Pursuing a career in interior design can be rewarding and fulfilling if you choose the right educational path for you.

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I enjoy designing and curating experiences both virtually and in 3-dimensional reality. I have a Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology and currently practice professionally, but I also manage a few other ventures.
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