The intimidating / frustrating / exciting part about design is that there are so many options. First, you need to sort out what are of design you are looking to focus on. Second, begin to look at schools, programs as well as individuals who are inspiring to you. For me it began with a focus on a specific style + genre of design and from there I looked at schools where the professors met my style / need.
Dave recommends the following next steps:
Attending an excellent art school is a big part of it--nowadays, students have incredible access to industry professionals through online classes. Constant learning, even once you become a professional, is key. Specialization may be the best first step--graphic design, fashion design, and industrial design are very different industries.
Cynthia recommends the following next steps: