The world of art is known for its mystery and its luxury, and it is all around us—in the construction of the buildings that we use, to the paintings on their walls, to the clothes that we wear. Fashion and interior design are methods of communication that have been especially revered throughout the ages. Today, we see fashion on the billboards and the TV screen, and we see interior design promoted in every other post on Pinterest, bringing these previously inaccessible art forms into the everyday life.
For both of these creative industries, a degree program is a great start but an internship inside is highly advised. If you’re intrigued by the design arts and curious about putting your creativity and vision to use by creating a career, then read on about how you can start your path in fashion and interior design.
THE CAREER PATH
The world of art can be quite competitive, although it has permeated every aspect of our society. Interior designers and fashion designers pull from a similar pool of professional artistic knowledge related to colors, patterns, and materials but have unique skills and purpose. The Bureau of Labor Statistics describes the typical career option for each type of professional:
- Interior Designers prioritize making interior spaces functional and safe in addition to being aesthetically pleasing. Every public building space and many private spaces that you have walked into have been touched by the artistic eye of an interior designer. Many interior designers specialize in a particular type of building—such as hotels or hospitals—or a specific type of room—like bathrooms or kitchens. There are many different types of interior design professionals, but across the board they must blend their knowledge of artistic functionality, building codes, and blueprints. Regardless of the unique path that each professional dedicates their skills to, interior designers make more than $50,000 each year on average. The lowest earners, often the self-employed or those running one-person design shops, may bank as little as $30,000 per year. Designers who specialize in corporate office interiors and in commercial design for institutions such as hotels and restaurants will enjoy the most career stability and the highest wages. Since interior design is often considered a luxury, job growth is expected to be slightly less than the national average and be mostly in wealthier areas.
- Fashion Designers channel their artistic energies into clothing and accessories, rather than buildings. If you can spot what’s stylish months before it appears on the runway, an online fashion degree may be your best educational credential. Fashion design and merchandising is one of the few artistic industries in which raw talent, paired with very little education, can move your portfolio to the top of the pile. Whether your interest lies in the business or creative side of design, fashion offers many opportunities for an exciting career. Competition is keen though. You’ll have to work hard to get ahead in the fashion field. Few positions open up each year, but a degree combined with a jazzy portfolio will help set you apart. However, the exception is the mass retail industry. As fast fashion becomes more accessible to the public, these positions are expecting a 22% rise by 2026. Otherwise, growth is expected to be slow. But, the competitive nature pays off as fashion designers earn more than $65,000 annually on average.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
Careers in design are for artistic professionals who want to put their creativity to work. They must have an eye for detail when it comes to bringing their vision to life, whether in the first sketch of an idea or sewing the final seam of a product. Not only do these types of careers come with the artistic territory, but successful professionals must also have the interpersonal skills to be effective communicators with clients, colleagues, and other professionals. They also must be expert problem-solvers and must have enough technology skills to use computer-aided design (CAD) programs.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
Whether it’s an associate or bachelor, earning an interior design degree online will help you jump into this competitive industry. Online certificate programs provide training in basic skills for a design career. A bachelor’s degree can help you acquire an advanced and integrated mastery of interior graphics and design. In the interior design world, your portfolio can be critical in landing a great gig. Look for an online certificate program that allows you to compile an interior design portfolio. This compilation of your work will let you showcase your talents to potential clients. Internships and entry level jobs could help you build up an impressive history of cases and satisfied customers. Consider a program recognized by the The Council for Interior Design Accreditation for the highest level of academic prestige. Some states require interior designers to be licensed by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) or another official institution.
To launch your career as a fashion designer, consider first earning an online certificate or associate’s degree. Online colleges and trade schools sometimes offer an associate of science or an associate of applied science (AAS) in fashion merchandising, fashion marketing or management. This type of degree could lead to an entry level position in retail or design, where you can work your way up in the company. An internship inside the fashion or retail industry is highly advised, no matter where or how you earn your fashion degree. Many students benefit from immersion in the networking structures that operate deep inside design studios and merchandising shops. Enrolling in an online bachelor’s program may yield more diverse fashion internship opportunities and better job opportunities. Students that are considering enrolling in fashion program should look for institutions that are accredited by The National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
The average cost of an online interior design or fashion design degree is between $30,000 and $50,000. Look for programs that offer benefits outside of coursework that prepare you to be professionally competitive through internships, certifications, or other opportunities.