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What Degree Do You Need To Be An Interior Designer

By David Krug 8 minute read

Most people’s daily lives, work, and business activities take place within buildings, whether they’re private homes, public buildings, or commercial establishments. These interior spaces are designed by interior designers, who ensure that they are useful, beautiful, and safe. 

Designing both business and residential environments falls under the umbrella of interior design. Interior design requires at least some college education as a prerequisite for employment. In order to get a job as an interior designer, you’ll almost certainly need a college degree, even if you only work as an assistant.

Which degree is necessary to become an interior designer?

According to O*NET, a bachelor’s degree is the most prevalent level of education for interior designers, accounting for 85 percent of the field. One in ten interior designers have an associate’s degree, while a post-certificate bachelor’s is the next most prevalent level of schooling.

A degree is vital for your financial future as well. According to the trade publication Architectural Digest, in 2019, interior designers with a bachelor’s degree earned more than $15,000 annually than those without one.

If you seek merely an associate’s degree and work in a state where licenses are not necessary, you may often begin working as an interior designer within two years, providing you work in a place where licenses are not required. If you want to seek a higher degree of education, you will likely spend four, five, or more years in school. In certain areas, interior designers must get a license prior to holding the title. Typically, a few of years of further supervised work experience are required to obtain a license.

More than 360 postsecondary schools, universities, and independent institutions with art and design programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation accredits around 180 interior design programs at the bachelor’s or master’s degree level.

In certain areas, interior designers must be licensed or registered through a procedure requiring a relevant degree, a minimum number of years of experience, and a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination.

The Required Education to Become an Interior Designer

Regardless of the degree of college education and job training you choose to pursue in interior design, the following is what you can anticipate from your study.

  1. Associate’s Degrees in Interior Design

Associate’s degree programs in interior design are available in either an Associate of Arts or Associate of Applied Science format. Associate of Arts degrees typically serve as stepping stones to bachelor’s degrees in interior design, whereas Associate of Applied Science degrees are designed to prepare students for professional industry requirements. 

Consequently, the curriculums of associate’s degree programs in interior design vary significantly according to the sort of school you select. The curriculum for an Associate of Arts degree is more likely to emphasize general education requirements. In addition, the curriculum will cover introductory courses in design and construction, construction materials and processes, the fundamentals of computer-aided design, drawing, three-dimensional design, and the history of architecture and interior design.

Even while the majority of the courses required for an Associate of Arts in interior design are lower-division courses, you may also be required to finish advanced coursework, such as a course in advanced presentation skills. Although this program is meant to serve as a basis for future study in interior design at the bachelor’s level, students will still have the opportunity to develop their abilities through a sequence of design studio courses while pursuing their associate’s degree.

In a degree of applied science, you may pursue courses in more specialized areas of interior design studies. In one course, you could focus on domestic design, in another on commercial design, and in yet another on the use of fabrics and finishes. Depending on the institution you attend, you may spend less time on liberal arts and science classes and more time on your selected major.

  1. Bachelor’s Degrees in Interior Design

If the student takes certain design-related courses, a bachelor’s degree in any area may be sufficient to obtain a position as an interior designer. There are many recognized interior design programs out there, but students who are serious about their career path should attend an authorized interior design program since it will better prepare them for the rigors of a profession in interior design.

If you’re interested in pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, you’ll learn the fundamental principles and methods of general interior design work in each of these programs.

There should be an emphasis on space planning, interior design approaches, sustainable design, and building systems and details at the bachelor’s level. Students interested in interior design may expect to study coursework in such topics as design principles, philosophy of interior design, lighting, and color theory. It is possible that some classes, such as interior building codes and the history of architectural interiors, will need more academic rigor and less creative thinking than you had anticipated.

Taking lessons in sketching and architectural drawing, as well as computer-aided design for building information modeling, digital architectural drawings, and digital presentation approaches, helps interior design students acquire a wide range of practical abilities.

In many undergraduate interior design programs, an internship is a vital component since it provides students with hands-on experience outside of the classroom. For interior design majors, design studio classes are an essential aspect of the curriculum.

  1. Post-Baccalaureate Certificates in Interior Design

There are a number of options for those who have previously completed a bachelor’s degree and wish to continue their education. Interior design certificate programs can be tailored to certain areas, such as kitchen and bath design or sustainability.

There are several advantages to completing a certificate program rather than a complete degree, including the ability to begin enjoying the rewards sooner.

  1. Master’s Degree studies in Interior Design

Why would an aspiring professional in this sector consider pursuing a master’s degree if so few interior designers actually hold one? Typically, the purpose of master’s degrees in interior design is to give an interior design education to career-changers with bachelor’s degrees and professional experience in another industry.

In other cases, experienced interior designers get a graduate degree in order to advance into leadership, research, or academic positions.

According to the BLS, you may need to submit drawings and other artwork to demonstrate your artistic aptitude before being accepted into a design school.

Working in Interior Design

For residences, public buildings, and commercial constructions, interior designers are responsible for arranging the functioning and aesthetics of the interior areas. If an interior designer wants to create a successful design, he or she must first understand their client’s needs and expectations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (BLS). Choosing design components that work well with the intended use of the space and the flow of people through it is an absolute essential. Interior designers begin by sketching and planning the arrangement of the space, taking into account details like the location of the electrical outlets. They choose the proper colors, furniture, paint or wallpaper, flooring, lighting fixtures, plumbing fittings, and materials to achieve the design idea and utilize computer-aided design (CAD) software to develop final design drawings.

Interior designers do more than just plan. On top of all that, they need to keep an eye on the project’s progress and budget. Client satisfaction is a priority for interior designers, who ensure that the correct materials are bought and fitted.

As essential as interior design is, it is usual for professionals to specialize in a particular area of the field. While some interior designers specialize in lighting, others focus on certain spaces, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Other specializations of interior design, such as environmental sustainability and universal accessibility, are also important.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national median compensation for interior designers in 2020 was $57,060. Working in areas like architecture and engineering services, where the typical annual compensation is $62,620, is the most lucrative for interior designers. The second-highest-paying business for interior designers is the wholesale commerce industry, which employs barely 5% of the workforce and pays a median compensation of $57,300 in 2020. Nearly one-fourth of all interior designers work in the $54,330 median-wage industry of specialized design services. An annual wage of $47,710 is the norm for furniture businesses, which account for 5% of the workforce.

In general, the job prospects for people working in this field isn’t great. In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that job opportunities in all occupations would expand by an average of 8% from 2020 to 2030. Although the BLS forecasted a zero growth rate for interior designers throughout this time period, there was no change in job possibilities.

Despite the fact that interior design isn’t one of the occupational roles in which statistically significant decreases are projected, the BLS recognized the likelihood of total positions for interior designers declining by a few hundred throughout that time.

No new interior designers will be employed, but rather, the majority of new job openings in this industry will come from interior designers who retire or change their careers. Interior design may not be booming right now, but the BLS predicts that by 2020 there will be 7,800 open opportunities in the industry.

Interior Design Degree Requirements You Should Know

Finding a school that teaches interior design isn’t a simple matter. Over a thousand possibilities are available for consideration. Some elements to consider when narrowing down your college search include technical competency training and hands-on experience possibilities as well as accreditation.

People who misunderstand the responsibilities of interior designer and interior decorator may be astonished to learn how crucial technical knowledge is in this field. Visual representations are an important component of the profession, whether they are created by hand or by computer-aided design (CAD). Computer-aided design training and experience with the most popular CAD systems, including Autodesk AutoCAD or Autodesk Revit can help you obtain these abilities that businesses are looking for in a new employee.

An interior design degree program provides students with the chance to put the skills and information they learn into practice and build a strong portfolio.. It’s ideal if the institution you attend places a high value on design studio courses early in your academic career. Internships and other sorts of practical experience are very important in this subject because design isn’t something you can fully master by merely reading textbooks and doing homework.

If you’re looking for a job, it’s more important to show potential employers your work in the design studio and as an intern than your degree or GPA. Choosing an accredited interior design degree program is another consideration. Accreditation for various kinds of programs is provided by various bodies, such as:

  • There are over 300 accredited art and design schools in the United States, according to the National Association for Schools of Art and Design.
  • Accrediting more than 180 interior design schools, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation
  • Nearly 100 kitchen and bath design specialization programs have been accredited by the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

The fact that your interior design curriculum has been accredited shows that it has been evaluated and found to satisfy the industry’s highest standards. Employers may prefer to hire people with degrees from reputable institutions because they are more likely to be able to obtain certifications and licenses.

David Krug