Design School Degrees – Curriculum and Accreditation Info

Aspiring designers may earn a degree at any number of schools ranging from art and design institutions to technical colleges to traditional colleges and universities.

These degrees are also offered at every level including associate, bachelors, masters, and first professional. A number of schools offer certificates in certain areas of design such as interior, graphic, and web design.

An associate or certificate can help prepare students for entry into a bachelor’s degree program or for entry-level or support positions in the field. For most other design jobs, employers prefer a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited school. To get started on a career in design, you should enroll in an accredited program in your chosen field. You may choose the traditional format (on-campus), a blended format (online and on-campus), or a program that can be completed entirely online.

Before enrolling in any program, whether traditional, blended, or online, you should check to make sure the program is accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education ( The top accrediting bodies for design schools are:

-The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

-The Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER)

-The Council for Interior Design

-The Accrediting Commission for Community and Pre-collegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS)

In many case, schools may carry more than one seal of approval. Some of the top accrediting bodies overall include:

-Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

-Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

-Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)

-Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)

-Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (regional)

-New England Association of Schools and Colleges (regional)

-North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (regional)

-Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (regional)

-Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (regional)

-Western Association of Schools and Colleges (regional)

In addition to making sure you will receive a degree from an accredited institution or program, you should spend some time reviewing curriculum and admissions requirements. All programs should have similar curriculum requirements from major to major.

If you are considering an online school, you should keep in mind that traditional design program curriculums are still the standard in the academic world. When reviewing admission requirements, make sure the school asks for, an admissions application, official test scores, official transcripts, recommendation letters, an application essay, and a creative sample.