Updated: May 26
If you are searching for a school that offers an Interior Design program in British Columbia, Canada, particularly in the Vancouver area, this article will help you to determine which school will suit you best.
Which school to choose?
Before making your decision, here are a few things to consider:
Are you aiming for a bachelor’s degree, diploma, or certificate?
Are you looking for a part-time or full-time program?
Is the school accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA)?
Are you an international student who will need a post-secondary work permit after graduation?
Here is the list of schools in BC, Canada that offer an Interior Design program:
Source: Designated learning institutions list from CIC https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/study-canada/study-permit/prepare/designated-learning-institutions-list.html
For further information, you can find the course outline, tuition fee, etc. on the school's official website.
Why is CIDA one of the factors that you should consider when choosing a school?
The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) is an independent, non-profit accreditation organization for interior design education programs at colleges and universities in the United States and internationally. (source: https://www.accredit-id.org/mission )
Most interior design, architectural, or engineering firms prefer students who have graduated from CIDA accredited (or equivalent) post-secondary institutions, with at least a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. Graduate students from CIDA accredited (or equivalent) post-secondary institutions will have a better chance at getting hired.
If you want to become a Registered or Licensed Interior Designer in Canada, you should take this criteria into account, as since January 2017 it has become mandatory for Interior Designers to graduate from CIDA accredited (or equivalent) post-secondary institutions.
Top CIDA accredited institutions in BC
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU).
British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
Vancouver Island University (VIU)
KPU's well-received Interior Design degree has been accredited BCIT by the CIDA since 2000 and was the first accredited program in British Columbia. In 2017, BCIT and VIU also had their Bachelor of Interior Design programs accredited by the CIDA.
Pro and cons
While KPU and VIU offer a 4-year program starting in September each year, BCIT offers quite a flexible array of options for both full and part-time studies, which may be of benefit to students working full-time in conjunction with attending school.
However, BCIT only offers part-time study for its certificate and diploma programs, which can be quite challenging to apply for through online course registration. There are always many students trying to register and the classes usually fill up quickly. The best way to complete the program in a short time is to follow the 12-month fast-track schedule certificate, then register in full-time studies afterward. If you are an international student, make sure to register at least 9 in-class credits per term and 2 terms per year to be considered a full-time student.
Once you complete a certificate in Interior Design after your first year at BCIT, you can either look for a job immediately or pursue your studying further. At this point you will have 3 options :
Diploma in Interior Design which covers residential and commercial aspects
Diploma in Residential Interiors which focus on residential interior design only
Certificate for Kitchen and Bath Designer if you want to become a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer
At VIU, students complete a total of 129 credits over 4 years with an internship between the 3rd and 4th years of studies. KPU’s Interior Design program requires the completion of 128 credits of coursework, while BCIT has a total of 172 credits in their Bachelor Degree program, which is more intensive.
Tips to manage your educational budget:
Buy used books from other students: there are many groups on social media that sell used books. For example, you can quickly find used books on BCIT textbook trade centre or BCIT interior design @NE1 group on Facebook
Drafting tools can be expensive when bought new, but they can always be purchased from other graduate students.
Always show your student ID to get a discount in art supplies stores, such as Opus, Deserres, and others.
List of Designated Educational Institutions from https://tools.canlearn.ca/cslgs-scpse/cln-cln/reea-mdl/reea-mdl-1-eng.do?nom-name=BC#wb-auto-4