Choosing a FIDER / CIDA Accredited Interior Design School

Why Education Is Important

Completing a degree, either an associate or bachelors, is becoming increasingly more important to the interior design profession. Currently, 25 states and jurisdictions have licensing requirements for interior design practitioners. In many of these states, you cannot even call yourself an interior designer unless you meet or exceed a certain level of accredited education and in some cases pass the qualifying exam administered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification. Regulation of interior design practice continues to become increasingly wide spread.

Selecting a Design Program

Step One: Check Accreditation
You should first check that the institution you are considering is properly accredited. The accrediting body for interior design schools is the nonprofit Foundation for Interior Design Education and Research. FIDER is now known as CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

CIDA develops guidelines and goals for the future of interior design education and then offers schools the opportunity to meet those standards and receive "CIDA Accreditation." Lack of CIDA or FIDER accreditation does not necessarily mean that your school does not meet high standards-the school may simply not have applied.

CIDA Accredited Online Art Schools

View the complete list of CIDA-accredited programs. The list is updated twice a year following Accreditation Commission meetings at which accreditation decisions are made.

Step Two: Research Programs That Fit Your Needs
You have many options: two-year programs or four-year programs, big universities or small colleges or art and design schools, even home study. You may be wondering whether a four-year degree is necessary or if a two-year degree will suffice. Before you can make these big decisions, you really should start at square one. Find out which schools are in your area or in the areas where you would be willing to live. Then do some investigating. Find out what sort of design they specialize in, who they are accredited by and what that means for your future, how much you can expect to pay in fees and other expenses, etc.

Step Three: Talk with a Faculty Member
Set up an appointment with a faculty member at the schools you are most interested in. This is a good way to decide whether or not a program is right for you. Ask the faculty member about the types of classes that are offered, the teaching philosophy of the program, what percentage of graduates actually pursue interior design careers, and what types of jobs they have landed.

Source: American Society of Interior Designers

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The Art Institutes - Online Design Degree ProgramsDesign Degrees at Digital Media Arts CollegeInternational Academy of Design and TechnologyThe Institute of Interior Design - Online Interior Design Degree ProgramsWestwood College Online Art SchoolDesign Degree Programs at American Intercontinental University
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