Rochester Institute of Technology

Academic Program Overviews

Student Skills & Capabilities, Salary Data, Career Information 

Interior Design BFA

Program Overview

A multi-faceted profession where technical and creative solutions are applied to interior spaces, creating functional, attractive environments to enhance quality of life for work, play or living.  Bringing together past history, future technology, architectural form and environmental concerns, students create unique spaces to suit the needs of the inhabitant.  Interior designers use their knowledge of structure, social and geographic context, codes, sustainability and barrier free design to create fully functional environments.  Lighting, color, furniture fixtures and finishes are applied to create a complete, cohesive design.  Projects explore actual client experience whenever possible and design innovation is encouraged.  The CIDA accredited interior design program leads to state licensing and certification, careers in architectural and design firms, corporate and institutional design departments, as well as specializations in hospitality, retail, office, healthcare and sustainable design.

Degrees Awarded

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts

Enrollment

  • Approximately 80 interior design students

Cooperative Education & Experiential Education Component

  • Cooperative education (typically paid full-time work lasting the length of a term) is an option for students in the interior design program.
  • Students are typically available to co-op full-time in the summer. Part-time (10-15 hrs/week, not to exceed 20) may be an option fall or spring semester. Internships are also an option for students during the school year.

Salary Information

Co-op:     $13.50                     $12.00 - $15.00
BFA:         $42,176                   $25,534 - $49,412*
*According to Salary.com

Student Skills & Capabilities

  • The interior Design curriculum provides an understanding of three-dimensional concepts as they relate to space, function and aesthetic resolution.
  • Students gain excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills through group interaction and teaming.
  • Technical presentation skills including: sketching, computer drafting, digital modeling, rendering, presentation graphics and material boards.
  • Color and lighting theory, materials specifications, business and career practices, universal design, ADA and sustainability.
  • Technical knowledge in building construction methods, passive and active environmental control systems, building codes and construction documents.
  • Studio coursework includes residential, hospitality, retail, office, healthcare, multi-story/multi-purpose design and special topics, which may be community based, charitable or socially relevant projects.  Coursework is both real life and theoretical.
  • Residential, hospitality, retail, office, healthcare, and multi-story/multi-purpose design.
  • Through electric coursework skills may include artisan and hand-crafting skills.

Accreditation

Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

Equipment & Facilities

The interior design studio has a dedicated studio workspace and lecture area.  A reference library, media center, photographic equipment, and imaging sciences labs for computer output are available. 
 
Computer labs are equipped with Macintosh and PC systems.  Software includes: AutoCAD, Revit, Trimble SketchUp, Shaderlight, Vectorworks, Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and others.

Nature of Work

Interior designers draw upon many disciplines to enhance the function, safety, and aesthetics of interior spaces. Their main concerns are with how different colors, textures, furniture, lighting, and space work together to meet the needs of a building’s occupants. Designers plan interior spaces of almost every type of building, including offices, airport terminals, theaters, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, and private residences. Good design can boost office productivity, increase sales, attract a more affluent clientele, provide a more relaxing hospital stay, or increase a building’s market value. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook)

Training / Qualifications

Postsecondary education, especially a bachelor’s degree, is recommended for entry-level positions in interior design. Two-year and 3-year programs also are available. Some States license interior designers. Postsecondary education, especially a bachelor’s degree, is recommended for entry-level positions in interior design. Training programs are available from professional design schools or from colleges and universities and usually take 2 to 4 years to complete. Graduates of 2-year or 3-year programs are awarded certificates or associate degrees in interior design and normally qualify as assistants to interior designers upon graduation. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree usually qualify for a formal design apprenticeship program.  (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Job Outlook

Rising demand for interior design of private homes, offices, restaurants and other retail establishments, and institutions that care for the rapidly growing elderly population should spur employment growth of interior designers. Creativity is crucial in all design occupations; most designers need a bachelor’s degree, and candidates with a master’s degree hold an advantage. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H. ’13-‘14.)

Job Titles

Interior Designer, Interior Design Coordinator, Interior Design Director, Interior Design Consultant,  Corporate Designer, Project Designer, Project Manager, Design Assistant, Design & Planning Consultant, Certified Kitchen Designer, Color and Materials Designer, Commercial Interior Designer, Decorating Consultant, Director of Interiors

Employment

Job prospects should be better in high-income areas, because wealthy clients are more likely than others to engage in remodeling and renovating their homes. Interior designers who specialize, such as those who design kitchens, may benefit by becoming an expert in their particular area. By specializing in a unique area of design, interior designers can use their knowledge of products to better fulfill customer requests.

Significant Points

  • Keen competition is expected for jobs because many talented individuals are attracted to this occupation.
  • Self employment is common; many interior designers work in small firms or on a contract basis.
  • Postsecondary education—either an associate or a bachelor’s degree—is necessary for entry-level positions; some States license interior designers. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Selected Employer Hiring Partners

ADD Inc., Amelia Cabinet Company, Ann Taylor Retail Inc., Arhaus Furniture, ARKTX, Apple Inc., Bergmann Associates, Beyer Blinder Belle, Clark Patterson Lee, Cleo Design, Daroff Design, Form Architects, FXFowle, General Electric, Gensler Associates, Getsloff Design Group, Granoff Architects, Group Goetz Architects, HGTV, Hanlon Architects, HOK, Hunt Engineers, Inde Institute for Human Centered Design, Interior Architects, Kelly Architects, King + King Architects, Marriot International, Merkel Donahue, Meadows Office Furniture, Blynn Nelson Interiors, Perkins+Will, Robin Muto Interiors, Rovetto Design Group, Sherwin-Williams, Silvestri Architects, Spectrum Design Group, Sedgewick Business Interiors, Stantec Architecture, Steelman Partners, Vargas Associates, Vitoch Interiors, LTD, Wegmans Food Markets

Contact Us

We appreciate your interest in your career and we will make every effort to help you succeed. Call our office and ask to speak with Gretchen Burruto, the career services coordinator who works with the Interior Design program. You can access information about services through our web site at www.rit.edu/careerservices.
 
Gretchen E. Burruto, Assistant Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 585.475.5462
Rochester Institute of Technology . Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
Bausch & Lomb Center
57 Lomb Memorial Drive . Rochester NY  14623-5603
585.475.2301

7/15

Related Links

Department Website