Canadian interior design education can be acquired through the college or university level. Unlike the programs offered in the United States, a degree is not required to become a registered professional designer. Admission to programs is based on academic marks and creative ability as demonstrated in a portfolio submission. Once accepted into a program, six years of combined educational and work experience is required before one can take the professional examination to become a registered interior designer. Therefore, if someone graduates from a three year college diploma program, they will need a minimum of three years working experience, while someone graduating from a four year degree program will only need two. Masters degree programs in Interior Design are far less common in Canada.
Canada has similar professional standards as the United States, which requires designers to take the same industry professional examination to become accredited for interior design practice. The province of Ontario is currently in the process of requiring all institutions offering interior design to be accredited.
Interior Design degree offerings
In the United States many universities and colleges offer four year baccalaureate degrees in Interior Design. Some design colleges also offer Interior Design program as stand-alone program. Masters degrees (MS, MA, MFA and recently the MID) in Interior Design are also available, although this advanced degree is less common than the baccalaureate degree. Many professionals pursue advanced degrees in related subjects, such as industrial design, fine art or education. Currently, PhD programs in interior design are in existence at a handful of colleges and increasing in number.
Distance education in Interior Design
Educational institutions have expanded beyond the traditional, studio-based instruction in interior design by offering online degree programs for in interior design. The online degree programs, like the ones offered in traditional form, feature as comprehensive curriculum under offerings that range from 60-credit diploma courses to certificate programs, and to as many as 132 credits for a full-blown baccalaureate degree program.
Recognition of degree programs
Some graduate degree programs in interior design do not require a bachelor's degree in a related field. Although most interior design schools in the United States retain "Interior Design" in the program name, some schools have adopted the name "Interior Architecture" instead. However, programs with "Interior Architecture" in its name may not be comparable to programs for interior design. Sometimes the distinction is drawn between programs which teach courses in structures and programs which do not. It is important to note, that a practicing professional cannot use the title of "Interior Architect," unless the person also completes the requirements for becoming a licensed architect.