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If you need further assistance, please email interiordesign@arapahoe.edu.

What is Interior Design?

From National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ), the definition of Interior Design: "Interior Design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants, and are aesthetically attractive. Designs are created in response to and coordinated with the building shell, and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements, and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability. The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology, including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and resources of the client are satisfied to produce an interior space that fulfills the project goals."

What is a traditional student for Interior Design?

This field is far from traditional, we get all walks of life and look forward to meeting you.

I've taken courses at another college, what is the process to transfer credits?

Transferring credits to ACC

Why do I need a degree to practice Interior Design?

Over the years interior design has evolved into a separate and distinct discipline requiring expertise and skills different from other professions. Interior designers have become key participants in the total design process. Educating practitioners providing interior design services contribute to the public health, safety and welfare. Without formal education and a degree, it will be difficult for you to attract clients or obtain employment in the field.

What kind of degree do I earn at ACC?

ACC awards an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Interior Design. ACC is accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC formerly NCA), the same agency that accredits CU, CSU, Metro State and the other community colleges and universities in this region. The Interior Design Program at ACC is also accredited by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).

What kind of job placement should I expect?

This really varies from student to student. It depends on what state you want to work in and what your area of interest is. Generally students will start in an entry-level position which are typically individuals with associate degrees. We ask students to do their homework and call companies in the industry to inquire current industry needs. ACC's Interior Design program is well known in the state of Colorado for producing graduates with top-notch portfolios. 

How long will it take me to earn this degree?

This is a 75 credit program, and takes three years to complete.

What if I want to take my education beyond ACC, will my core courses transfer?

ACC can not guarantee transfer credits for this specific degree program. 

I just want to take one class, is this possible?

Yes, but if there's a prerequisite for the course, you'll need to take this first.

Where are design classes held?

The majority of the interior design classes are held at the ACC Art & Design Center located at the corner of Prince and Alamo in downtown Littleton. It is within walking distance of the Littleton Campus. Downtown Littleton is one block away with its quaint shopping and eating establishments in every price range.

Where do I park?

There are several options for parking at the Art & Design Center. There is a student parking lot (Lot J) to the south of the complex. A special parking pass (approximately $9 per semester) is required to park in Lot J or any of the other campus parking lots, some which are closer to the Littleton Campus. If you ride Light Rail, there is a stop directly across the street.

What sort of instruction will I receive?

All instructors in our program are hired on the basis of their educational credentials and years of field experience. All are successful practitioners and respected members of the design community. Many are members of professional organizations such as ASID, IIDA, NKBA, AIA, USGBC, and CIDC. We are a learning-centered program. Class time is spent almost entirely in instruction through lectures, demonstrations, audio/visual presentations, skills practice, and student work critiques. Instructors are consistently learning and incorporating industry leading technology into coursework as the industry technology changes. 

What does the program prepare me to do?

The curriculum includes both theoretical knowledge and practical training that prepares you for entry-level employment in the interior design profession immediately upon graduation.

How difficult is the program?

We set high standards for performance, and earning high grades requires your commitment to a rigorous education. You can control your workload by the number of credits you take each semester. For each hour of in-class time, you can expect, at a minimum, to invest up to two hours of time outside of class doing homework.

Can I attend part-time or a night?

Yes, there are night courses- but to complete the degree you will need to attend some day courses. Courses are scheduled to accommodate those students who cannot attend full-time or during the day. Evening classes usually start at 6:00 p.m. In addition, some General Education courses are offered as hybrid classes while others can be taken online. Hybrid classes usually only meet once a week while online courses have no face-to-face time. There are no minimum credit requirements per semester unless you are on Financial Aid or you are an international student.

Are there online courses?

Yes, there are online courses- but to complete the degree you will need to attend some courses on campus.

Do I need an art or technical background?

No, we don't assume that you have had any prior exposure to art, design, drafting or computer programs. Our curriculum begins with fundamental courses, which teach you the basic skills and knowledge needed in this program.

How much will my Interior Design education cost?

Fulltime students can expect to spend approximately $2000 per semester for tuition, fees, textbooks, and other course supplies.

Where do I obtain books, equipment and supplies?

The ACC Bookstore, located on the first floor of the Littleton Campus main building, sells the textbooks and computer discs. Supplies and equipment can be purchased at local art and drafting supply stores.

Is the ACC program respected by the Profession?

The Interior Design program at ACC has been educating students in the Denver Metro area for over 35 years. Most of our students enroll on the advice of professionals and alumni. Our students have been recognized locally and nationally. Recently our students and our program have made a strong presence on the national scene:

  • In 2010, our student design team won 1st Place in the student category and Best of Show at IIDA's, Pret-a-Porter. This was the first time a Student Design Team won Best of Show
  • 2009, ACC was again recognized by NKBA as a Program of Excellence and received the highest score in the country for annual requirements
  • In 2008, ACC was recognized by NKBA as a Program of Excellence
  • In 2008, student Paula Ricca took third place in the national Bathroom Design Competition
  • In 2008, again, one of our students, Rebecca Kahler, won Honorable Mention in the ASID National Student Design Competition
  • In 2007, student Sian Rowlands won an Honorable Mention in the ASID National Student Design competition. For the first time in the history of the competition, ASID decided to name four Honorable Mentions in addition to the winner
  • In 2004, our students took First Place in the NKBA Essay competitions

What is the status of the interior design job market?

Interior design work is tied to the state's economy; the availability of jobs goes up and down with it. We are beginning to see an upswing in Colorado's economic health, and our enrollment is going up accordingly. We expect to see more jobs opening up as the economy becomes stronger.

What are the job opportunities after graduation?

Interior design, kitchen and bath, hospitality, architecture, facilities management, wholesale and retail sales, healthcare, lighting, home furnishings, home building, and real estate are only some of the professions and industries that hire our graduates. IND 278, Design Portfolio/Resume, prepares you for the job-hunting process.

What starting salary can I expect?

This will necessarily depend on the type of job you obtain and the quality of the work in your portfolio. On average, graduates in their first year of full time employment can expect a starting salary of $25,000 to $30,000 per year. Income usually climbs steadily as you gain field and project experience. For example, a recent NKBA salary survey showed that certified Kitchen and Bath designers average $87,000 a year. Upon completion of the Interior Design program at ACC, graduates are eligible to take the AKBD exam and with documented experience, they can sit for the Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer test.

What is NCIDQ?

"Protecting the public by identifying those individuals who are competent to practice interior design." - NCIDQ mission statement.

What is the purpose of the NCIDQ?

The National Council for Interior Design Qualification serves to identify to the public those interior designers who have met the minimum standards for professional practice by passing the NCIDQ examination. The Council endeavors to maintain the most advanced examining procedures, and to update continually the examination to reflect expanding professional knowledge and design development techniques. It seeks the acceptance of the NCIDQ examination as a universal standard by which to measure the competency of interior designers to practice as professionals.

What are the eligibility requirements to take the NCIDQ examination?

The criteria includes both interior design education and actual interior design experience as follows:

  • 4/5 years interior design education plus 2 years full time work experience
  • 3 years interior design education (60 credit hours) plus 3 years full time work experience (such as ACC Interior Design AAS Degree)
  • 2 years interior design education (40 credit hours) plus 4 years full time work experience
  • NCIDQ recommends working under the direct supervision of an NCIDQ certified designer or architect
  • Eligibility is determined from the time that you application is submitted
    • It is NOT determined from the time of the next examination
    • For specific information, please refer to NCIDQ