Interior Design Education and Careers For the Artist of the Inside

Interior design careers require not only a sense of design, but also technical aptitude and sophisticated communication skills. A bachelor’s degree and passing mandated government exams is just the beginning of this highly competitive – but rewarding and inspirational career.

Designing your life with a career in interior design can give you the lifetime reward of living with a job you love. Interior design careers are for the creative individual who also has the ability to manage the creativity logically and enjoys working with materials. To be a successful interior designer, you must also be able to communicate the creative and logical aspects of your design to clients.

An interior designer works for their client. The client will issue their requests, demands and specifications for the interior design. The interior designer will then take those specifications and create a design, using creativity and talent to create a design, and educational background and on-the-job experience to make the design a reality. Textiles and materials, form and function, safety and security are all areas of study that the interior designer has to master. Aesthetics must meet functionality and it starts with a degree.

Your Interior Design major will begin with the fundamentals. These courses will include learning about the basic principles, processes and elements of design, types of materials and furnishings, identification of fabrics and textiles, and utilization of space. From there you will move on to the physical properties of materials, composition, light, color, sketching and mechanical drafting. Later in your education, your studies will focus on blending the visual and the practical, then move to business practices, government regulations, environmental considerations, communication and building your portfolio. Safety courses will include fire regulations, building codes, ADA regulations, and space constraints.

Most states require an interior designer to be insured. To qualify for the exam, you will need six years of college, and work experience. If you claim you are an interior designer in those states and perform work, it’s possible you could be criminally prosecuted. Once you complete your education, complete the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam. The NCIDQ exam is administered twice a year and includes three sections. Section One is “the Principles and Practices of Design (Building and Barrier Free Codes included), Section Two is “Contract Development and Administration,” and Section Three is “Schematics and Design Development.” Once you pass your NCIDQ exam, you will be assigned a certificate number and get your license.

During your studies you will likely find your area of preference and expertise. An interior designer can work in general interiors in residential or commercial buildings, or they can specialize, working for just restaurants, hotels, skyscrapers, or any other specialty that they’ve found their talent for. An interior designer might work for a large corporation, a small design firm, or out of their own home. The interior designer’s education, license, portfolio and work experience will determine reputation and career.

Interior design takes a great deal of creativity, skill and knowledge. Years of education and training take place before your interior design career becomes a reality – but once it does, your life will be designed for success.