What Are the Education Requirements to Be an Interior Designer?
What makes a room comfortable to sleep in? How can an office inspire productivity? Perhaps the answers to these questions has to do with the way the rooms were designed. Interior designers are skilled in making the most of a room to instill calm, productivity, utility, or comfort. Completing a postsecondary degree program in interior design can train you to work in this profession. Schools offering Interior Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Interior designers work with spaces in homes, businesses, and other types of dwellings. Their primary goal is to create a unique living or working space by using furniture, lighting, colors, and textures. Sometimes the design is utilitarian in nature, while other times it is aesthetic. Interior designers frequently work with interior architectural features and must have the ability to read blueprints as well as use computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software.
Becoming an interior designer requires completing a postsecondary degree program. Undergraduate programs, such as associate's and bachelor's degree programs, provide foundational education that includes drawing, design, color and lighting theory, materials, and architectural concepts. Associate's degree programs should prepare you for a position as an interior designer assistant. Bachelor's degree programs should provide the training needed for an entry-level interior design job.
Two agencies that accredit interior design schools and programs are the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Most NASAD-accredited colleges have four-year programs, although two-year accredited programs do exist. The CIDA accredits both bachelor's and master's degree programs.
Licensing and Certification
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), some states require interior designers to be licensed or registered. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification administers the licensing exam (www.ncidq.org). Those who pass this exam are known as certified, registered, or licensed interior designers, according to the terminology and requirements of the state in which they took the exam.
Eligibility for taking the licensing exam may require completing a CIDA-accredited interior design degree program and having a number of years of work experience. However, the NCIDQ has six eligibility routes that a candidate for licensing can take. A minimum of six years of combined education and work experience is required to qualify to take the exam, but the amount of education and experience that's needed may vary, depending on the route.
The exam consists of three sections that test a candidate's knowledge of architectural systems, professional project applications, and interior design concepts. The test takes two days to complete and is composed of both multiple-choice questions and interior design exercises. States may also require continuing education coursework to renew your license.
Interior designers who are primarily interested in designing home kitchens and bathrooms may wish to obtain a certification from the National Kitchen & Bath Association (www.nkba.org). This organization offers professional development courses and exams that lead to different types of certification for this specialized area of interior design.
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