Interior Design Training Courses

You'll most likely encounter these courses in an interior design training program.

What to Look for in a Program

When you're choosing an interior design training program, the most important thing is to find a school that will help you reach your goals. Because getting your interior designer license is a requirement in a lot of states, you not only need to know about the laws governing the state in which you intend to practice, but also how to qualify for NCIDQ certification. Finding an interior design training program that will qualify you for professional certification is step one. 

Interior Design Education

If you’re interested in a career in interior design, you have several educational paths from which to choose.


  • No formal enrollment requirements
  • Requires two to three years of coursework
  • Qualifies graduates to work in entry-level positions under supervision of experienced interior designer

Associate’s Degree

  • No formal enrollment requirements
  • Requires two to three years of coursework
  • Qualifies graduates to work as an assistant to an interior designer
  • Provides foundation for entering a bachelor’s degree program

Bachelor’s Degree

  • Requires four years of coursework
  • Usually falls within science, applied arts or fine arts departments
  • Includes coursework in interior architecture or industrial design
  • Qualifies graduates to enter a one- to three-year formal design apprenticeship program at an architecture or design firm

Master’s Degree and Doctorate

  • Less common than a bachelor’s degree in interior design
  • Number of programs available is increasing
  • Focuses of study include industrial design, education and fine art

What Are Interior Design Training Courses Like?

Although each school’s curriculum varies, here are some subjects you will likely study in an interior design training program:

  • Color theory
  • Computer-aided drafting
  • Creating specifications for interior construction
  • Ethics
  • Graphic communication
  • History of interior design/architecture
  • Interior design business practices
  • Interior design specialties
  • Interior design studio
  • Lighting
  • Materials, methods and finishes
  • Problem solving
  • Safety and building codes
  • Space planning
  • Two- and three-dimensional design

Interior Designer Vs. Interior Decorator

Although the terms interior designer and interior decorator are used interchangeably, they have different responsibilities. Are you more interested in redecorating a room than large-scale renovations? Then a career in interior decorating may appeal to you the most. No degrees or formal education are necessary to be an interior decorator. These distinctions will help determine the best fit for you.

Interior Designer Interior Decorator
Formal training required No formal training required, although classes are available
Focuses on renovations, structural changes, spatial planning and functional design Focuses on aesthetics of style, color, furniture, fabrics, accessories and room layout
Hired for commercial work Hired for residential work
Interacts with contractors and architects Interact with homeowners, furniture makers, painters and other industry professionals
 Works as an apprentice Apprenticeship not required
Licensing required in most states Licensing not required