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Interior Architecture & Design: Interior Architecture & Design Courses at FRCC LC

Interior Design Curriculum © 2021 by Nowell Allayla Vincent is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International

General Interior Architecture & Design Information

Interior Architecture & Design Program at FRCC LC

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Interior Architecture & Design Degree & Certification

Offered at: Larimer

The Interior Architecture & Design program creates an arena of academic excellence that bridges the gap between learning and employment in the interior design and kitchen and bath industry. We promote industry collaboration, ethical practices, and professionalism through leadership in the classroom and internship placement.

A.A.S. in Interior Architecture & Design

65 credits
(4 semesters)

This degree program provides an in-depth study of architecture, CAD, and interior design skills necessary for a career as an Interior Designer and/or Kitchen and Bath Designer. You'll learn to develop creative abilities through the study of visual elements and principles of design. You'll also learn to prepare design graphics through sketching, manual drafting, and computer-generated presentation drawings.

Learn more about the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ) Exam.

Interior Architecture & Design degree: See required courses and descriptions.


Interior Design Certificates

Fundamentals in Interior Design, Drafting & Communication

14 credits
(1 semester)

This certificate teaches the fundamental skills used in interior design, drafting & graphic communication. To become an NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) certified designer, you must complete both the A.A.S. degree in Interior Design and the Kitchen and Bath certificate.

Learn more about the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ) Exam.

Fundamentals in Interior Design, Drafting & Communication certificate: See required courses and descriptions.

Kitchen & Bath Design

36 credits
(3 semesters)

This certificate prepares students for a career in kitchen and bath design. As part of the program you'll complete a four-credit internship working under the direction of the program director at a design firm or design-related company in northern Colorado. Past internships have been offered at companies such as Hixon Interiors, Eheart Interior Solutions, Earthwoods, and HighCraft Builders. Graduates with an Interior Architecture & Design AAS degree, including internship, will be able to apply six months of experience towards the Certified Kitchen & Bath Designer (CKBD).

Learn more about the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ) Exam.

Kitchen & Bath Design certificate: See required courses and descriptions.

Program Video


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What You Will Learn:

Upon completion of the A.A.S. in Interior Architecture & Design program, you will be able to:

  1. Communicate historical and current trends in the built environment and convey that through conceptual, schematic, and actual development of interior spaces.
  2. Interpret industry-specific working/construction drawings and documents.
  3. Develop construction documents for commercial, residential, kitchen, and bath spaces.
  4. Create reflected ceiling plans.
  5. Collaborate with a team to facilitate multidisciplinary, sustainable projects.
  6. Use design development processes for small and large interior projects.
  7. Develop, prepare, and present interior design projects using 3D software.
  8. Design and create budgets for residential and commercial spaces.
  9. Demonstrate proper business protocol within a professional design position with clients, peers, professional trades, and administrative teams.
  10. Prepare a portfolio of industry-specific drawings using eight different software programs.

Interior Design Jobs & Salaries

Jobs Entry Average Experienced
Interior Designer $32,729 $58,584 $71,511
Commercial/Industrial Designer $40,156 $62,594 $73,812
NKBA-certified Kitchen & Bath Designer* N/A $87,000 N/A
Kitchen & Bath Design Firm Owner* N/A $114,000 N/A
Kitchen & Bath Dealership Owner* N/A $118,000 N/A

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
Occupational Statistics Survey (2018)

* NKBA Salary Survey (2008)
Interior Design Resources


Interior Design to me:

Almost 20 years ago, I serendipitously fell into a position in interior design.  I knew nothing of the subject, only that my background in art, theatre, service industry, and a good business sense somehow helped me land my first position as a showroom designer for a tile company. 

What I imagined a professional career in interior design to look like is very different than what I know about the profession and industry today.  I imagined interior design to be a glamourous process of selecting beautiful things and putting them into place for clients.  That false expectation (what I often see on design shows) is what I consider now to be the “10% jewel” of the project. If I were to quantify the process as percentages from beginning to end, the final product is 90% planning and the 10% “jewel”, the “fun stuff” we see on all the design shows on television.   

Architecture, design, and construction are much like a meticulously planned and executed theatrical production with the opening night being the certificate of occupancy.  Teams of design experts work together facilitating their piece of the puzzle towards the approved user group’s vision.  The final product of what you see, the built environment, is the byproduct of countless hours, days, and most often years of coordination between skilled design professionals and trades.  Large building designs, such as museums or airports follow the same systematic approach, the design process, as would a designer for a small powder bathroom.

Thoughts for new designers:

One thing I can promise the new interior design student and practitioner, your design career is that of practice and growth, hence the term “practicing design” as it is, and always will, change. 

Learn, apply, practice, repeat.

Just as we see new products hit the market, better products surface then the next best thing is launched, so are the patterners of our industry.  It is constantly seeking “better” as advisors to our clients, for our buildings, and for our planet. 

As our user groups are diverse in age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic backgrounds, so are their needs.  Our design solutions for the built environment should therefore be human-centered design solutions; adaptable to change for the sake of longevity, flexibility, inclusiveness, and timelessness.

My mantra for those who are exploring this rewarding career:

  • Chameleonize yourself.  This is not about you; it is about your client.
  • Find your mentor(s).
  • Interior designers do not always feel creative every day.  Have a roadblock? Some days you just need to control something to feel like you have accomplished something.  My favorite thing to do is clean my room or office. Or paperwork, that is an endless task to complete!
  • Once you “fail” (and you will), get up, own it, and move forward.
  • Lucky us for finding our passion career!  What do I love so much about this industry?  There is always a beginning, a middle, and an end:)!
  • Another bonus for this fabulous career: If you get bored, switch it up!  There are endless opportunities for focus in this career!
  • As a business owner, find teammates who align with your personal values. 
  • Hire the professionals, you get what you pay for.
  • Source locally when you can, it is a personal relationship.
  • Learn to speak design and business language asap.
  • My sentiment and trademarked tagline for my business, “Design with Life in Mind”.  Do your research!

Nowell Allayla Vincent, M.S.



Soft Skills:

  1. Organization of digital files and folders.  Recommendation: Find your method and stick to it.  Digital organization is learned in the first semester of our program.
  2. Communication of Design: verbal, narrative, illustrative, technical and presentational communication. Recommendation: Learn to be comfortable with adjectives and using words to paint a picture.  You will be creating Design Statements in all your projects!  Save all your work from the beginning for portfolio.
  3. Teamwork and Collaboration:  Share ideas, leverage your strengths and learn from others to create “the vision”.  Recommendation: Leave the ego at the door.  Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is becoming a standard practice in our industry, allowing for maximation of production, investment and is in the best interest for client satisfaction on a project.
  4. Understand ethical decision making to promote professionalism.
  5. Presentation Skills:  Learn, through practice, how to present to the audience as the client.  Recommendation:  Find a presentation template early and use this for every project.  Develop templates to quickly access per project.  Practice in the mirror with your visual graphics.  Smile even if you aren’t excited about it.  Be excited about it (never apologize) even if it is not your best work.  Dress the part.  Never say “I”, always regard the solution for your client.

Technical Skills:

  1. Programming and Research.  Learn to validate your design decisions through Case Studies. Recommendation: Not every idea is a good one for your client.  Align the “Design Problems” with design solutions that are appropriate for the client/application.  Don’t let your client be the guinea pig!  Research projects that have successful solutions of the studied material or application. Love an application or product?  Don’t put all your great ideas into one project, put it in a file and spread the love!
  2. Conceptual Design: Creating a visual concept based on your research.  This concept will develop through various mediums including (but not limited to) sketches, mood boards, Pinterest, Houzz and other platforms for your projects.  They are collections of graphic images including natural and manmade objects, spaces and abstract forms using the Elements & Principles to create a unified concept.  Recommendation: Try not to use designed spaces by others, your client will either expect to see that photo you shared, or it will be out of context and misunderstood.  Click here for more on Mood Boards.  Click here for a great, free mood board creator.
  3. Schematic Design development.  Through various diagrams and matrices, you will organize your ideas from the Programming phase to help develop visual aides to guide your space organization and criteria.  These help clients understand how you got from A to B. Recommendation: Always keep these, scan them in for your portfolio.
  4. Design Development: you will create various architectural floor plans, reflected ceiling plans/mechanical plans, demolition plans/construction plans, elevations, details, sections, installation drawings, perspectives and schedules to aid in the finalization of construction documents for subcontractor RFP’s, shop drawings for construction and product procurement.  Manual drafting and CAD software will be used to facilitate residential, commercial and kitchen and bath portfolio projects.
  5. Develop multiple design software proficiency for Construction Document Sets and Presentation.  Recommendation: Jump into it, fumble around and learn through tutorials.  No single class will prepare you for proficiency. Touch 5-7 software each project for practice.  Find one software to master for CD sets and renderings.  Get comfortable feeling uncomfortable in software, it is ever- changing.
  6. Understand and practice Contract Administration through specification, communication and quantification.

Interior Design Curriculum © 2021 by Nowell Allayla Vincent is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0