Interior Design Career Information and Education Requirements

Sep 17, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an interior designer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and state licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

If you think designing interior spaces to be visually appealing sounds interesting, then you should consider a career in interior design. You'll need at least a bachelor's degree for this position, as well as state licensure and many opt for special certification.

Essential Information

Interior designers work with interior spaces to make them visually and physically pleasing. While decorating the space is a prime responsibility, interior designers might also focus on architectural aspects of the space, such as crown molding. To work in the field of interior design requires postsecondary education, preferably from a program accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design or the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. A portfolio of work is also important.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements State licensure in some states, optional certification
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 4%*
Median Salary (2018) $48,840*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Interior Design Career Information

Interior designers can be found designing for a variety of settings, such as schools, homes, restaurants, airports or office buildings. They are skilled in both architectural and decorating aspects of interior space. When interior designers begin working with a space, they consider the purpose of the rooms. They make design plans or draw up blueprints that include structural features, such as built-in bookcases. Interior designers also consider characteristics of a space, including colors, lighting and furniture.

An interior designer might be self-employed or work for a design or architectural firm. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that in May 2018, the median salary for interior designers was $53,370, although salaries can range from $29,970 to over $94,130. Typically, salaries are determined by years of experience, type of employer and any specialties an interior designer might possess.

Employment Outlook

According to the BLS, interior designer employment is projected to grow 4% between 2018 and 2028. Competition for these positions, though, is predicted to be high. With the increasing popularity of green or efficient energy options, interior designers with experience in this area might have an added benefit for employment opportunities.

Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree in interior design is recommended for entry-level positions. These undergraduate programs place heavy emphasis on studio work. Students should expect to take drawing, 2-D design and 3-D design, including learning CAD software. Additional core coursework in an undergraduate program might include building compliance, sustainable technology and design theory, such as topics in environmental design. The work completed in a 4-year interior design program leads to building a portfolio and fulfilling an interior design internship.

License Information

Some states do require interior designers to be licensed. This means they must take an exam that is administered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification. Criteria for licensing will vary by state, according to the American Society of Interior Designers ( The average requirements for licensure are six years of combined education plus experience. To maintain licensure, interior designers might be required to complete continuing education courses or programs.

Interior designers need to have an eye for aesthetics and great communication skills. At minimum, a bachelor's degree is typically required, and licensure may be necessary to satisfy state requirements. Numerous factors play into an interior designers' salary, including experience and industry.

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