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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.