Education and Career Advancement: How to Become a Successful Interior Designer

woman sitting in her kitchen countertop

Space planning is a key component of interior design. It refers to how rooms are laid out and arranged in hotels, homes, office buildings, restaurants, and other enterprises. Interior designers work with various clientele, including large corporations, real estate developers, and private homes, due to the broad breadth of their profession. You must rely on experienced designers while creating a home for the greatest results. Things like kitchen or bathroom design are critical, so hiring a company for kitchen remodeling or bathroom renovation is important.

Although there were almost 78,000 interior designers in the United States in May 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that employment in the field would fall by 5% from 2019 to 2029. The decline in number doesn’t mean that there’s less scope. Interior designers earn very well in the US. From designing public spaces to homes, the work scope is quite diverse.

What Skills Do Interior Designers Need?

Both hard and soft skills are required of interior designers. They should be able to use a variety of design tools. While computers have made hand-drawing layouts obsolete, having an artistic bent can aid interior designers in swiftly sketching their concepts for a customer. Interior designers, on the whole, are creatives with a natural sense of aesthetics, color, and texture.

Interior designers are also general managers who know how to manage people, create and stick to budgets, and drive projects forward. Interior designers must have interpersonal and communication abilities to handle both their clients and projects. Such talents also come in handy in networking and looking for work.

Furthermore, the vast majority of interior designers are specialists. Others are solely focused on the restaurant industry. As a result, interior designers must understand how various sectors’ spaces operate. A dining establishment’s interior designer, for example, must understand the usual flow of a restaurant, including how food is made and served.

What Training Do Interior Designers Need?

Interior designers require training on building codes, construction, and local laws in addition to mastering their design and people abilities. Interior designers can work without a license in most states in residential settings; several states need licensing for commercial projects. While not usually required, state registrations and certificates can lead to higher-paying jobs. Even when working with homeowners, accreditation can provide clients with a sense of security and trust.

The industry’s gold standard certification, which many states demand of registered interior designers, is passing the three-part National Council for Interior Design Qualification, or NCIDQ, exam. To take the exam, interior designers must have a degree in interior design or architecture and a minimum of two years of professional experience. Students in their last year of study for a bachelor’s or master’s degree who do not have the needed job experience can take the fundamental components of the test.

How Much Time Do You Need to Become an Interior Designer?

The time it takes to acquire an associate degree in interior design could take at least two years, depending on the degree an interior designer chooses. Interior designers with an associate degree must have at least three years of full-time job experience before taking the NCIDQ exam and becoming certified. To qualify for the exam, those with a bachelor’s degree—which takes four years on average —must have two years of experience. As a result, becoming a qualified interior designer could take five to six years of formal education and on-the-job experience.

The Career Opportunities for Interior Designers
interior designer looking for at different pallet of color

There are a variety of career or job options in interior designers:

  • Corporate designers
  • Certified kitchen designers
  • Furniture arrangers
  • Home lighting advisers
  • Healthcare designers
  • Kitchen and bath designers
  • Interior decorators
  • Kitchen designers
  • Universal designers
  • Sustainable designers
  • Architects
  • Art directors
  • Industrial designers
  • Fashion designers
  • Landscape architects
  • Craft and fine artists
  • Floral designers

What Is the Average Salary of an Interior Designer?

As of May 2019, the average income for an interior designer was around $61,000. According to the BLS, the worst ten percent earned around $32,000 on average, while the top ten percent earned more than $96,000. Salaries vary based on where you work. A mid-career interior designer, for example, may earn $5,000 to $10,000 less than one. With an average income of $70,000, Rhode Island, California, and Arizona are the top-paying states in the sector.

Final Thoughts

It isn’t as simple as waking up one day and deciding to pursue a career in interior design. No matter which path you follow to become an interior designer, you’ll need some training or work experience. However, whether you go the traditional way or any other option, you can still pursue your ideal job.

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