Updated December 2022
This is such an exciting time to start a career in interior design. There are so many new software tools, tons of inspiring designers out there pushing boundaries, and a wide variety of job options in this field.
But let's take a step back. Your first priority is to find an interior design course that will actually get you hired.
There are many options out there, from DECs and AECs to bachelor's degrees in interior design.
This post is for people who want to bypass the theory and get straight to designing. So we'll be focusing on college-level interior design training, which is more practical and hands-on.
What should you look for in a quality course? It comes down to five key characteristics. Find an interior design course that meets these standards, and you'll be ready to compete for great jobs after college.
Let's get started.
1. Project-based curriculum that teaches the latest interior design software
What is the top skill employers look for when hiring entry-level interior design graduates? It's all about software.
Knowing how to use programs like AutoCAD and Sketchup is key. And the only way you'll really get comfortable with these tools is by using them, over and over, to create real interior design plans.
So when you're comparing interior design programs, look at the curriculum and course descriptions. Do they mention a "project-based" approach?
Do the courses include plenty of assignments to design kitchens, bathrooms, homes, and commercial spaces, which you can use to create your professional portfolio?
Any designer will tell you that having a professional portfolio full of technically accurate designs is key to landing your first job.
Herzing's interior design instructor Matthew Salmaso explains:
"If you want to get hired, you must learn how to create and present interior designs from scratch using industry-standard software.
We teach everything from kitchens, bathrooms, homes, and commercial spaces to windows, staircases, and building codes. Each student discovers their own style and it's really exciting."
2. Guaranteed Interior Design internship
Everyone knows the hardest part of starting a new career is getting that first job. Most employers prefer to hire someone with experience, right?
But how do you get experience when you're brand new in the field? You need an internship!
Internships are so valuable because they take place before you even graduate. You get real work experience for your resume and connections with a local employer. If you do well, you may even get hired by the company that hosts your internship. You'll skip right over the job search part and start working as a professional designer straight out of college.
That's exactly what happened to Sergkei Theocaris.
He did an eight-week internship with his interior design course, working at Primo International in Montreal. Soon after graduating, Primo recruited him for a designer/merchandiser position.
"In my role, I report directly to the president of the company, which is pretty cool! I work with photographers and graphic designers, doing photo shoots and staging for marketing and advertising campaigns.
I also design room layouts for hotel developers who are interested in our products. Working as a designer for Primo, I have the freedom to experiment and create something really original."
3. How long is the interior design course?
How much time are you planning to spend on interior design training? Are you looking for a part-time course, an accelerated program, an online course?
This comes down to your personal preference and priorities. But it's key to ask about the class schedule, total program length, and how flexible the structure is.
Want an online interior design course? Make sure you ask what kind of online learning platform the school uses, and how much support you'll get from the instructor.
Looking for a quick program? Check out programs that are under two years long.
Herzing offers an accelerated 18-month interior design course. It's intensive, but students are fully prepared for work in well under two years.
Consider what training format you need, so you can quickly eliminate schools that don't fit your criteria.
4. will you get Career Support Services?
If the interior design program has a good graduate employment rate, chances are they have strong career support services.
Most colleges offer career support to help students find employment opportunities after graduation. These services include:
☑️ Helping you write a professional resume and cover letter
☑️ Instructions on how to search for jobs in your industry
☑️ Mock interviews to build your confidence and communication skills
☑️ Connections to industry partners who often hire the school's graduates
If you're brand new to interior design, or brand new to Canada, this service is crucial. It really helps to have a solid career services team helping you get your first job.
It's common for colleges to offer this support, but not all schools are equal. Be sure to ask admissions about which career services are offered and how they'll help you find work.
5. Positive reputation & reviews
Does the college itself have a positive reputation? Has it been around for a long time? Take some time to explore the website and research the school, to ensure it's a credible institution.
Some colleges have Google Reviews installed on their website pages. You can see an overall score and read feedback from graduates.
If possible, reach out to someone who actually took the course and ask them how it went.
Summary: Questions to ask admissions
Found an interior design course you're interested in? Your next step is to speak with admissions.
An admissions advisor can guide you through the program and answer questions about the points we covered in this post.
Here's a summary of questions you should ask your advisor:
☑️ What kinds of interior design projects do students do in class?
☑️ What interior design software programs will I learn in this course?
☑️ Is there an internship?
☑️ How long is the course and what is the delivery format?
☑️ What kinds of career services do you offer?
☑️ Are there online reviews for your school?
Check out Herzing's Interior Design course
Click below to explore Herzing's Interior Design program. You'll find answers to the questions on this list and you can chat live with an advisor for more information. We're here to help!