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Furniture Designer: Education and Training Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a furniture designer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and employment outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

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Aspiring furniture designers should consider a bachelor's degree in engineering, architecture or furniture design. Programs in industrial or commercial design are also available, and some furniture designers hold master's degrees in the field.

Essential Information

A furniture designer creates pieces for public and private spaces that combine function, comfort and beauty. Designers might create furniture based on an interior design style or period in history. Some designers create furniture according to the request of the customer, while others design a line of furnishings for sale in furniture stores.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 2% (for industrial designers)*
Median Salary (2015) $67,130 (for commercial and industrial designers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Education

Furniture designers might complete an undergraduate degree program in industrial or commercial design to obtain the education necessary to design furniture. These degree programs include courses in sketching, design, methods in manufacturing and computer-aided design. Industrial design students also study psychology, anthropology, mathematics and science. An internship in a furniture design firm also might be part of an industrial design program.

Commercial and industrial designers could also qualify for an entry-level position with a degree in engineering or architecture. Engineering and architecture degree programs include courses in computer-aided design, building materials and design concepts.

Students also might pursue a bachelor's degree with a major in furniture design. This program provides students with the techniques used in furniture design as well as a thorough examination of the materials, equipment and methods used to create furniture. Programs also include courses in the history of furniture design, interior design and computer modeling and design. Study of interior design styles prepares the furniture designer to create pieces that suit a particular period or style.

Master's degree programs with a concentration in furniture design are also available for aspiring designers.

Students planning a career as an independent furniture designer should complete business courses, such as management, accounting, business planning and finance. Freelance furniture designers must have skills in marketing and sales as well.

Training

Industrial design degree programs might require an internship in a design firm or manufacturing business to complete the course of study. An internship provides the student with work experience in the field and training with skilled furniture designers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports entry-level industrial and commercial designers receive on-the-job training before advancing to lead positions (www.bls.gov). Training in project management instructs the furniture designer in time management, budgeting and scheduling.

Furniture designers combine comfort, beauty and function to create pieces at the request of a client or for a furniture store. They usually hold a bachelor's degree and may have participated in an internship and on-the-job training. Demand for industrial designers, including furniture designers, is relatively low, with job opportunities predicted to grow by only 2% from 2014-2024.

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