Design Schools: Finding The Right Program For A Career In Design

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You say you want to attend design school, but you’re having trouble choosing a major. Don’t worry. With a little information from a few reliable sources, you can be well on your way to finding a design program that will play a pivotal role in your success. Let’s start with

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a few facts and figures for you to mull over. “Design” is a broad field that includes everything from architects and computer artists to graphic and industrial designers. Designers hold more than 600,000 jobs and salaries range from $27,330 on the low end up to $117,120 on the high end. Most designers have a bachelor’s degree or higher in areas ranging from fine arts to architecture to computer science.

The top careers in design (when it comes to earnings) include architecture, computer software and systems design, and commercial and industrial design. This doesn’t mean interior designers, graphic designers, and other related fields offer very little pay. It just means that technology-related design careers are in higher demand and most of these careers require advanced degrees and certification.

For architects, most employers prefer a master of architecture. Architects must be licensed in the states where they practice. The average mean wage for architects is $69,760. Commercial and industrial designers earn an average of $60,000 per year and employer’s prefer a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited program in industrial design, architecture or engineering.

According to, computer software and systems designers must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in computer science or software engineering for entry into this competitive field. Most employers prefer a master’s degree. This elite class of designers averages $85,370-$125,750+ per year.

To start a career in design, you should select a program offered through an accredited art and design school, technical school or college or university. If you would like to work in the field or other position while working on completing your degree, an online design program might be the best route. Top online design schools will offer most of the same majors and curriculum as top traditional design programs. So, when searching for a design school, compare the curriculum, admission requirements, and accreditation to traditional schools. All school websites (whether online or on-campus) offer curriculum, admission requirements, and accreditation information on their official website.

Most art and design schools have accredited by The National Association of Schools of Art and Design. To date, this U.S. Department of Education recognized agency accredits 300 postsecondary programs with programs in art and design. In addition, The Council for Interior Design accredits more than 150 interior programs that lead to a bachelor’s or master’s degree. A number of regional agencies are also recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. These include:

-Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

-New England Association of Schools and Colleges

-North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

-Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

-Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

-Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Admission requirements may vary slightly, but standard admission requirements include test scores, transcripts from all schools attended, statement of purpose or essay, recommendation letters, and if applicable, samples of your work.

For more information about design schools and careers in design, visit:

Design Schools – Information about design schools, curriculums, and program info

Design School Careers – Job descriptions, salary ranges, outlooks and more to help you choose a career path.

U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics –


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