Become a Certified Interior Decorator (CID): Step-by-Step Guide

Feb 27, 2019

Find out how you can become a Certified Interior Decorator (CID). Watch this video to learn about the education and training requirements for starting a career in interior decorating. View article »

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  • 00:01 Essential Information
  • 1:03 Certification Paths
  • 1:46 Program Length & Topics
  • 2:40 Salary Information

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Video Transcript

Certified Interior Decorators

Interior decorators select and arrange decor for the home, including furniture and lighting. They work closely with clients to ensure that their vision for a room or home space is well conceived and executed. As decorators often travel to clients' homes, they should have a personable and professional demeanor and flexible schedule. Full time work is available and hours are flexible.

Degree Level Certificate program completed at an accredited or approved school
Degree Field Interior decorating
Certification Voluntary certification to become a CID
Key Skills Artistic, creative, and detail-oriented personality; personable demeanor; proficiency with Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software
Median Annual Salary (2016)** $49,920 (based on $24/hour)

Sources: Certified Interior Decorators International, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Interior decorators share some of the same job duties with interior designers, but designers must have a bachelor's degree and may need to earn a license. On the other hand, interior decorators only need experience, or postsecondary training through an interior decorating certificate program which includes the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software.

A Certified Interior Decorator (CID) can obtain his/her certification through Certified Interior Decorators International ( Applicants must receive training from a CID-approved learning institute and pass the CID entrance exam.

Certification Paths

There are two ways to become a Certified Interior Decorator (CID). Students can enroll in a CID-accredited interior-decorating program, which includes use of the CID study guide and membership exam; or they can complete a CID-approved course of study and apply for the exam separately. If students chose to complete an interior-decorating program that isn't accredited or approved by the CID, they can submit the program's curriculum to the Certified Interior Decorators International for review.

Aspiring interior decorators should choose their schools wisely. The CID accredits only a few higher education institutions, some of which allow students to study entirely online.

Program Length and Topics

Coursework in a CID accredited interior-decorating program covers topics in design, color theory, lighting, and floor plans. Aspiring decorators will also study the history of interior decorating, furniture styles, and business practices. Courses in drafting and CAD allow students to produce designs or sketches by hand and on a computer. Students may have to purchase some tools of the trade like drafting templates. Program lengths vary by institution from several months of full time attendance to two years of part-time study.

After completing the required coursework, applicants for professional membership in Certified Interior Decorators International must pass an exam. Memberships vary in length and must be renewed each year. Applicants can purchase the official CID study guide to help them prepare for the test. Exams can be mailed in or completed online.


According to, in May 2016 interior decorators earned a median hourly wage of $24.00 an hour which was based on a 40-hour week and translates into $49,920 a year. As of May 2015, interior decorators earned a median hourly wage of $23.48, or $48,840 a year, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Once an applicant earns certification, he/she has access to members-only sections of the CID website, which contain resources and networking opportunities. Professionals can also order drafting tools and other job-related products through the CID.

Certified interior decorators choose and arrange décor for homes, including furniture and lighting. Certification can be obtained through Certified Interior Decorators International, after which CIDs who work 40 hours a week may earn a median annual wage of $49,920 a year, as reported by

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