What’s the Best Degree Path to Becoming an Interior Designer?

When you decide to major in art and design, you’re not just following a passion. You could also be preparing for a fulfilling and financially rewarding career where you get to put your creativity to work every day. One such career is that of the interior designer. In homes, public places and commercial buildings, interior designers plan and select the décor of spaces to make them safe, functional and aesthetically appealing. Senior interior designer is among the top paying jobs for graduates of college art and design degree programs, with experienced professionals earning a median annual salary of $64,000 per year. To get starting in this career, you must first earn a college degree.

Education Options for Aspiring Interior Designers

Interior designers need the skills to create sketches by hand and develop plans with the help of computers, but the abilities to draw or use computers aren’t enough on their own. Technically, students can major in any subject to become interior designers, as long as they take the necessary courses, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. However, perhaps the best path into the career is to major in interior design at one of the 150 programs accredited by the Council for Interior Design or one of the 300 schools accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. If you suspect that you may want to specialize in designing kitchens and bathrooms, you can also choose to earn a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree or certificate in one of the 45 programs accredited by the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

Most interior design positions require that candidates have at least a bachelor’s degree, but additional certificates or advanced degrees can also help you broaden your knowledge and skills. No matter what program you choose, expect to spend time studying not only interior design, but also computer-aided design (CAD) and art classes like drawing. You may also need to prove your potential by presenting a portfolio of your best sketches.

Licenses and Qualifications

An education and your own artistic skills might not be enough to prepare you for a career in interior design. Some states also require interior designers to be licensed. If the state in which you intend to work requires a license, then you will also have to take a test, like the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination. However, eligibility for licensing tests such as this often include an experience requirement, so you may first have to work as an apprentice or intern to attain that experience.

For people who are as detail-oriented as they are creative, work as an interior designer can be highly rewarding. They can put their problem-solving nature to work alongside their artistic abilities to create rooms that are as practical as they are visually interesting. If you have a natural knack for visualizing and drawing beautiful spaces, studying interior design could be the path to your dream career.

Ben Karleen

Brenda Rufener

Laura Kilmartin