It depends on where you want to work. Many community colleges have certificate programs in a special area of study that take less time than an associates degree. They are a good place to start as they are the lowest cost option and you can see how you will like the field. You may earn a certificate in areas such as Computer Aided Drawing, Perspective and Rendering, Green Design or Kitchen & Bath. If you then decide you want an associates degree, you can take more hours to complete that. An Assoc. degree will qualify you to work in any retail location, furniture store and most residential firms. If you want to work in commercial design - offices, hotels, recreation, health care, etc., you will need to earn a bachelor's degree.