Interior Design Jobs for People Without a Degree

Interested in interior design but don't have a degree? Not to worry, your design skills and impeccable tastes will be appreciated in many industries, including real estate, entertainment, and retail.

Career Options in Interior Design that Do Not Require a Degree

For those that are artistically inclined and have an interest in decorating, interior design is an intriguing field to enter. While interior designers generally have obtained at least a bachelor's degree, there are plenty of other career options that involve elements of interior design. Just some of the options are listed below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016) Job Growth (2014-2024)
Interior Decorator $35,990** (as of 2017) 4%* (for all interior designers)
Real Estate Agent $46,410* 3%*
Set Designer $50,990* 7%
Visual Merchandiser $26,700* 3%
Freelance Writer $61,240* (for all writers and authors) 2%*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Career Information for Interior Design Jobs that Do Not Require a Degree

Interior Decorator

Interior decorators work with clients in designing the style and flow of homes or rooms. This may include furniture, wall decor, fabric, and color scheme. Decorators will also work closely with vendors and work under deadlines set by their clients. Interior designers have a similar job but may work with the architect and client in the actual construction process and require a bachelor's degree. Interior decorators are not required to have a degree, though in most cases they will need to undergo a training process in order to become a Certified Interior Designer (CID).

Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents assist clients selling, buying, and renting property by negotiating price, arranging documents, and presenting offers. These agents may also prepare lists of properties, take the lead on advertising, and escort buyers to listings. When presenting an open house, agents may be in charge of staging, which is developing the look and feel of a home's design in a way that will be most appealing to potential buyers. No advanced degree is need to become a real estate agent, though courses and a licensing exam must be completed.

Set Designer

Set designers review movies, television, or play scripts and then translate the style of the work to the sets of the production. Set design may take place indoors or outdoors, depending on the work. These designers must pay attention to the tiniest detail, as they may have to track down or build furniture and props that work for the tone of project. A degree is not generally required, though some sort of background in theater or film/television production may be helpful.

Visual Merchandiser

You can think of a visual merchandiser as someone who takes the skill set of an interior designer and applies it to a retail setting. Visual merchandisers create the visual design of stores and how merchandise is displayed. Someone in this position must balance their style and creativity with what design will best promote sales and a positive customer experience. While retail experience is common, a postsecondary education is not typically required.

Freelance Writer

Writers are the producers of written content for various forms of media, from websites to magazines. Writers research topics, interview subjects, and work closely with editors to produce content that fits the voice of the publisher. Some writers work for a single media outlet, while others are freelance. Freelance writers are self-employed and sell their articles to various outlets on a wide range of topics, including interior design. While salaried writers tend to have degrees, it is possible for freelance writers to make a name for themselves without one, usually by building connections and a reputation through their online presence on blogs and social media.

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