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Best 15 Interior Design Schools in California in 2021

April 1, 2021 | Staff Writers

Interior Design Schools in California
Degree Finder
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1. American River College

American River College is a community college that tops our list of the best interior design schools in California due to its accredited program and low tuition. ARC’s program is a unique Associate’s in Interior Planning and Design. This program gives students a valuable dual skillset.

  • Tuition per year: $1,104 in-state, $8,928 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 20% 

2. Las Positas College

Las Positas College is another community college with a leading interior design program. It offers interior design programs at both the certificate and associate’s degree level. Las Positas offers evening classes to accommodate working professionals.

  • Tuition per year: $1,164 in-state; $7,932 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 18%

3. Orange Coast College

Orange Coast College is one of the leading two-year colleges in California, and its interior design program contributes to this sterling reputation. Orange Coast College offers interior design certificates and associate’s degrees. Students study interior merchandising as part of their degree program.

  • Tuition rate: $1,188 in-state; $7,836 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 21% 

4. Palomar College

Palomar College is a community college in the San Diego area. It offers certificates and associate’s degrees in Interior Design. This NKBA-affiliated program provides students with cutting-edge education in technology like Autocad and Revit.

  • Tuition rate: $1,338 in-state; $8,898 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 21%

5. Saddleback College

Saddleback College is a community college in Mission Viejo. It offers interior design certificates and associate’s degrees. Students are eligible to sit for a national licensing exam upon graduation.

  • Tuition rate: $1,330 in-state; $9,590 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 17% 

6. Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College is the main community college in the area. It offers an Associate’s in Interior Design. This program is offered through the Drafting CAD department, so students will certainly get a strong background in computer-aided design (CAD).

  • Tuition rate: $,1374 in-state; $8,326 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 19%

7. West Valley College

West Valley College is one of the top interior design schools in California. Like many of the schools on this list, it offers both a certificate and an Associate’s in Interior Design. West Valley’s program is accredited by the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

  • Tuition rate: $1,434 in-state; $9,894 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 14% 

If you’re looking for the best interior design schools in California, you can find the right program by using our services.

8. San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University has the top interior design program among public schools in the state. Its program is a Bachelor’s in Interior Design. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national licensing exam.

  • Tuition rate: $7,266 in-state; $19,146 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 79%

9. California State University – Sacramento

California State University – Sacramento is the second university in Northern California on our list. It is one of only three public universities in the state to offer an interior design program. This unique program offers students a Bachelor’s in Interior Design with a specialization in Interior Architecture. This gives students a well-rounded and valuable skillset.

  • Tuition per year: $7,368 in-state; $19,248 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 78%

10. California State University – Long Beach

California State University – Long Beach, better known as CSULB, is a public university with a top interior design program. Its Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design requires students to complete 132 units of coursework. Students will be required to submit a portfolio of work before being admitted into the program as juniors.

  • Tuition per year: $6,834 in-state; $18,714 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 68%

11. San Jose State University

San Jose State University is the final public university on our list. Its Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design provides students with a well-rounded education in the field. It is known for educating students in cutting-edge technologies like virtual reality and 3D printing.

  • Tuition per year: $7,852 in-state; $19,732 non-resident
  • Graduation rate: 62%

12. Design Institute of San Diego

The Design Institute of San Diego is the first of several private institutions on our list. It is unique in that it is completely devoted to interior design. It offers a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and a rare Master’s in Interior Design.

  • Tuition rate: $25,649
  • Graduation rate: 63% 

13. Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandisng

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising is known for offering leading design programs in a number of fields, including interior design. FIDM offers both an Associate’s in Interior Design and a Bachelor’s in Interior Design. This program provides students a thorough education in both the design and the business sides of this profession.

  • Tuition rate: $32,732
  • Graduation rate: 71%

14. Academy of Art University

The Academy of Art University is another small private institution with a leading interior design program. It offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in Interior Architecture and Design. Students receive a dual education that can make them more versatile professionals upon graduation.

  • Tuition rate: $23,412
  • Graduation rate: 4%

15. Point Loma Nazarene University

Point Loma Nazarene University is a Catholic institution with a strong interior design program. It offers a Bachelor’s in Fashion and Interiors with a concentration in Interior Design. This program requires students to complete 63 credits of coursework after completing general education requirements.

  • Tuition rate: $36,950
  • Graduation rate: 71%

Our Ranking Methodology

We came up with these rankings after using a formula to give every interior design school a rating. Our formula took both the yearly tuition rate and the graduation rate of each school into account. For the public schools that had different tuition rates for in-state and non-resident students, we only looked at the resident rate. We took each school’s yearly tuition rate and added a multiplier equivalent to the percentage of enrolled students who did not graduate. Here’s an example: College 1 has a yearly tuition rate of $40,000 and a graduation rate of 80%. Its rating would be 48,000 (40,000 x 120%). Lower ratings are better for a school’s ranking.

Students who are looking for the best interior design schools in California can find the right program through our site.

Representatives of the schools on this list can contact us with any questions or corrections they have.

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