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How to Become an Interior Designer

Are you artistic, creative, and have a good eye for design? A career as an interior designer is a great way to put your skills to work for you.

Interior designers conceptualize and create designs for interior work and living spaces. They meet with stakeholders to assess objectives and requirements and develop plans that meet those goals. They need to be aware of any safety or building codes and work within them. Interior designers need to be detail-oriented and good listeners. They should be able to see a client’s vision and bring it to fruition. 

Creative thinking, a good imagination, and the ability to use space, color, functionality, and movement are essential skills. They need to be able to meet deadlines and stay within budgetary requirements, utilizing good project management skills. Interior designers should be proficient in using relevant computer software and design tools such as AutoCAD, Illustrator, and SketchUp. They collaborate with architects, engineers, and others in their work, and must have sound interpersonal skills. 

Sample job description

[Your company name] is looking for a passionate and talented interior designer. We need someone who can work with our clients and principal designers to bring creative ideas into reality. We are looking for someone who is interested in staying up on current trends and discovering new products. You will need to be able to input plans into architect software, create floor plans, and assist in product selection. One of the most important things we look for is that you enjoy working with people. If you are creative, detail-oriented, and enjoy design, this job could be for you.  

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Develop coordinated interior design solutions for specific needs and budgets
  • Work collaboratively with architects, engineers, and designers
  • Prepare concept boards
  • Guide clients through the selection of materials and furnishings, and the budgeting process
  • Serve as liaison for furniture and interior decorations vendors

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in interior design or a related field, preferably with coursework in drawing and computer-aided design (CAD). Job candidates with an interior design license can help boost their career opportunities.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Expertise in computers and technology
  • Keen attention to detail 
  • Strong collaborative and problem-solving skills
  • Can work independently with minimal oversight

Preferred qualifications

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Proficiency with Mac Operating System, IOS devices, Microsoft Office and Google Applications
  • Bachelor’s degree in design or another related field

Typical work environment

Interior designers may work in a few different environments. They may work for a large company or for a small office. They may drive to a client’s home or design site to meet with them. Because of technological advances, interior designers can now use software for their work instead of drafting on paper. Typical work weeks are 40 hours.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an interior designer are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, generally in an office setting or on-site. 

Available certifications

Clients look at certifications as a way to recognize education, experience, and proficiency in interior designers. Certifications increase a client’s trust in your abilities. Take a look at the following: 

  • Certified Interior Designer (NCIDQ). Completion of this program recognizes the competency of an interior designer. This includes a three-part exam: the Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX), and the Practical Exam (PRAC). Two years of education after high school is required as well as two years of experience.  
  • Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer (CKBD).  Applicants to this program must have a minimum of four years of experience, including two years of kitchen or bath design. Applicants will submit 8 design drawings. They will be scored and those who score 75% or higher will be allowed to take the CKBD exam. The Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer program focuses on design solutions, specifications, graphics and presentation, and mechanics and construction. Those who complete this course show they have the technical and communication skills necessary for this certification.

Career path

Becoming an interior designer typically requires a bachelor’s degree in interior design or a related field, preferably with classes in drawing and computer-aided design (CAD). Job candidates with an interior design license can boost their career opportunities.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 27-1025

2020 Employment87,000
Projected Employment in 203086,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 0.01% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift100 decrease

Designers can expect to respond to growing client expectations that the interiors of homes and offices meet certain conditions, such as being environmentally friendly and more easily accessible to all people.