How to Become an Interior Designer
Interior designers can greatly impact people’s lives by designing the spaces in which they live, work and play. Interior designers create plans to enhance the interiors of residential homes, public buildings and commercial spaces. They use color, texture, furniture, lighting, and space to style functional, safe, and aesthetically pleasing spaces for their clients. Interior designers also help decide the location of windows, stairways, escalators and walkways in the structures they are designing. Some interior designers specialize in a certain type of design or style, such as kitchen or bath remodeling.
Interior designers may work in architecture firms, landscape companies, home furnishings outlets, or building material suppliers. Most interior designer positions require some form of formal education, however some interior designers are self-employed and do freelance work.
Interior Designer Education Requirements
Interior Design bachelor’s degrees are recommended even for entry level job positions in this field. Graduates of an associate’s degree or certification program can, however, find work as assistants to licensed interior designers.
If you choose to enroll in an Interior Design bachelor’s degree program, you will be required to complete an apprenticeship program after graduation. Apprenticeship programs can last one to three years, and allow interior designers to gain experience working under professional designers. Interior design gradates can also gain experience by working as in-store designers at retail establishments.
Currently, interior designers are required to be licensed in 23 states. To obtain a license, you will need at least six years experience in the field, and at least two of years of post-secondary education. Licenses can be maintained through continuing education courses.
Job Opportunities for Interior Designers
There is high competition for jobs in interior design. Educated individuals who have experience and are licensed as interior designers will be eligible for the best job opportunities, promotions, and salary increases. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008 the median annual wages for interior designers were $44,950, and the middle 50 percent earned between $34,620 and $61,880.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 20010-2011 Edition