How Much Does a Design Degree Cost?

Gina L | December 6, 2009

design degree costsDesign is a broad industry, encompassing such fields as interior design, fashion design, and graphic design, to name a few. As you can imagine, design degrees come in all shapes and sizes, and with all kinds of price tags.  

How Much Does an Interior Design Degree Cost?
Interior design school costs vary — an associate degree program in interior design may cost up to $45,000, and a bachelor’s degree program may cost up to $85,000.

Accreditation is particularly important in the field of interior design, as it not only impacts your eligibility for federal financial aid, but it also affects your credentials for professional certification. The primary accrediting agency for interior design is the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), which only accredits bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.

The prices may be steep, but good interior design schools can help you find scholarships and other financial aid opportunities to offset your design degree tuition. Organizations such as the American Architectural Foundation, the International Furnishings and Design Association, and the American Society of Interior Designers, for example, offer interior design scholarship programs to consider.

How Much Does a Fashion Design Degree Cost?
Fashion design degree costs vary among community colleges, traditional colleges, career schools, and art schools. Specialized fashion design schools may cost upward of $30,000 per year. You can also get a good education at a public school for about $5,000 per year, but the price goes up several thousand dollars if you’re an out-of-state student. Room and board averages about $10,000 at each school.

One of the major fashion design degree cost considerations is location. Since New York and L.A. are the fashion capitals of the U.S., it makes good career sense to choose a school on either coast. But schooling in these cities does have its financial drawbacks, as the cost of living in either location is sky-high. Design schools in smaller cities offer more opportunities to save on living and other personal expenses.

No matter which type of design school you choose, make sure it’s regionally accredited or nationally accredited by an agency like the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

How Much Does a Graphic Design Degree Cost?
Graphic design tuition can be as low as $5,000 at a two-year college and as high as $50,000 at a four-year college. Community colleges and vocational/technical schools typically fall on the low end of the cost spectrum, offering associate degrees as well as diplomas and certificates in graphic design. Enrolling in one of these short-term programs can be a great way to save money on a design degree.

Specialized art and design schools are typically the most expensive education option, offering studio-centered graphic design instruction as well as industry-centered courses such as advertising, art history, business, marketing, and writing. The expense may be significant, but you can reap the benefits of a well-rounded education that will place you ahead of your peers.

Thankfully, financial aid is available from a variety of sources, particularly the schools themselves, which may offer full design degree tuition scholarships. To qualify for one of these awards, you will need to wow the design school with a diverse, professional portfolio.

When you request information from design schools that interest you, be sure to check the price tag. From there, only you can decide which design degree costs are best for you.

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