A career in interior design requires a bachelor's degree. It's common for professionals in this field to gain experience through an apprenticeship after completing postsecondary studies.
Influenced by Egyptian and Mexican Aztec styles, art deco interior design emphasizes clean, geometric shapes, vibrant colors and the use of materials like aluminum and stainless steel to decorate interior spaces. Art deco interior designers need some level of postsecondary training from an accredited interior design program. Most take art classes that focus on this style of decoration.
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Certification through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||4%*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$48,840*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Education Information for Interior Designers
Professional design schools, art institutes, colleges and universities offer interior design programs that can lead to associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Candidates should look for programs accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design or the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research.
Undergraduate Degree Programs
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), candidates need an associate or bachelor's degree in interior design to qualify for entry-level positions and apprenticeships. Certificates and associate degree programs generally last 2-3 years, and a 4-year program leads to a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design. Interior design students interested in art deco may declare a focus in this style.
Most programs review interior design students at the end of their first year. Reviews are generally based on student portfolios, which consist of several examples of work from first-year design classes. They assess student competencies in writing, drawing and conceptual artistic framework. Students must pass the year-end review to be officially accepted into the program and to begin taking advanced coursework.
Graduates must often gain practical training before working independently. Recent graduates start as interior designer assistants and those with a bachelor's degree typically qualify for apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships last 1-3 years and often take place in design and architectural firms or furniture stores, where candidates work under the supervision of an experienced designer.
Graduates with an art deco focus practice applying this style to furniture, lighting and home décor, floors, walls and roofs. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) offers the Interior Design Experience Program to help entry-level designers gain work experience and prepare for career advancement.
Undergraduate interior design programs emphasize the use of traditional drawing techniques and computer software programs to create designs. Students take lecture, seminar and studio classes and often complete internships with design studios or firms. Students may choose a commercial or residential focus while studying the relationship between people and space. Students emphasizing art deco design incorporate art, art history, decorative art and architecture classes covering this design style. Coursework includes:
- Design history
- Computer-aided design (CAD)
- Color and fabrics
- Furniture design
- Presentation techniques
- Basic space planning
- Design and construction
Earning an Advanced Degree in Interior Design
Many schools offer advanced interior design degrees or degrees with an interior design emphasis. Candidates with a bachelor's degree in interior design enter a post-professional Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree program that generally lasts two years. Those with a bachelor's degree in another subject enter a first-professional program, taking additional interior design courses to satisfy graduation requirements. Doctoral degrees are typically pursued within design and environment, art and design or architecture programs.
Applicants must submit a design portfolio showcasing their best work and usually need prior work experience to qualify for graduate school. Advanced coursework focuses on design and research methods; students typically complete a research paper or thesis project on a specific aspect of design. Graduates with advanced degrees can work in large design and architecture firms, start their own design firm or become interior design teachers.
Many professional interior designers seek certification for career advancement. Some states require interior designers to be certified or licensed by the NCIDQ. Professional membership in the American Society of Interior Designers also requires NCIDQ certification. According to the NCIDQ, certification assures employers and the public that interior designers understand the functionality and safety of interior spaces for public well-being.
To be certified, candidates must pass a national certification examination administered by the NCIDQ. Candidates must meet eligibility requirements before registering for the exam. These include a minimum of six years of combined education and professional experience, with at least two years of postsecondary education.
Administered over a 2-day period, the exam is divided into two multiple-choice sections and one section of drawing exercises. The first multiple-choice section tests knowledge of building systems, codes, contract administration and construction standards, and the second section covers design applications and project management. The third section is a full-day drawing practicum, where candidates complete several design solutions focused on health and safety. Once candidates pass all three sections, they become certified, licensed or registered interior designers, depending on their state.
With a projection of 4% job growth through 2024, the growth for interior designers is expected to be slower than average.An associate's or bachelor's degree is required, and professional certification is needed for career advancement. Those pursuing a career in this field can distinguish themselves through internships and apprenticeships to gain hands-on experience in the field.