Fashion and Interior Design Schools

Know what to look for in a design education

The most important thing to consider when enrolling in a fashion design or interior design school is your post-graduation goal.

The biggest mistake a student can make is choosing a training program for the wrong reasons or without enough research. Make a list of what you're looking for in a program and what your expected outcome involves. As you request information packages from schools you'll be able to see which one fits your needs.

Fashion designers

Those seeking entry-level positions and who plan to work their way up though the industry or continue their education later can make do with a certificate program that will allow them to work in fashion as a seamstress or pattern maker. Fashion designers who want to produce their own line of clothing or accessories need more comprehensive training. Degree programs can be great because they offer the option to take extra courses, such as business or marketing, along with the design courses. In some cases it may be beneficial for designers to enroll in a second course such as fashion merchandising after graduation.

Training opportunities to look for in a school

  • Students in some schools participate in a fashion show during their third or final year. They design and construct the pieces and enlist models to walk the runway for a fashion show. Often prospective employers or buyers will be in the crowd.
  • Certain fashion design schools offer students work placements that last up to one year. These placements are a great way for budding designers to get a foot in the door.

Interior designers

Depending on the state, interior designers may be required to obtain a license before they are fully qualified to work independently. To become eligible to write the exam a student must prove six years of experience in interior design, with at least two of those years being post-secondary education.

It's often recommended that training in interior design be undertaken at an accredited institution (some jurisdictions require it). The Council for Interior Design Accreditation puts its stamp on training programs that meet requirements for curriculum, faculty, facilities and other elements. The accreditation process is voluntary, so not all reputable schools take part, but it can be a good indicator of quality for those that do.

Licensing tests are taken through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). In states that don't require licensing, taking the test voluntarily can be a good way for designers to prove their professionalism to clients. It may also be required to join certain professional interior design associations.

Interior designers may also obtain specialized certification in kitchen and bath design. The National Kitchen and Bath Association offers three levels of certification that can be obtained through training and examinations.