Whether you dream of creating luxury hotel rooms, eco-friendly residences, or movie sets, an interior
design degree can prepare you. You’ll also need to have the right soft skills, such as creativity, good
visual awareness, and strong problem-solving ability. You may be able to strengthen your value on the
job market by choosing a specialty in which you do one thing with excellence instead of several things
competently. The steps below can help lead you to success.
Plan Your Education
You will generally need to get a bachelor’s degree in an accredited interior design program at a minimum.
You should choose the best school that you can attend that also caters to your particular areas of
interest. While keeping costs down matters, you should not turn down an acceptance to your dream
school because of the price tag. If you are concerned that savings, federal aid, and scholarships will not
be enough to cover the cost of school, private student loans are another option. Banks, credit unions
and other financial institutions, as well as online lenders, may offer loans. You may need a cosigner if your credit score is not very strong.
Choose Your Specialty
You can focus specifically on a particular type of facilities, such as professional offices or healthcare
facilities. Designing kitchen and baths requires such specialized knowledge that it has its own
professional organization, the National Kitchen and Bath Association. You could also focus on green or
sustainable living for home or offices. Some designers specialize in making spaces more accessible to
everyone. These are just a few of the possibilities. You will learn about more during school and even
afterward, once you are in the workforce.
Get the Right Certification
Many people do not realize that just like attorneys and doctors, interior designers may need to get
certified. This varies from state to state, and in some places, it is possible to do work without
certification as long as you do not call yourself an interior designer. Some of the top designers have not
sought certification and refer to themselves as interior decorators. All the same, if you are in a state that
requires certification, you will be more marketable if you go through the process. In most states, you are
required to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam although this can vary. For
example, California has its own test. You usually need a combination of education and experience
before you can take the certification test.
Tips for Success
Working for a designer or a firm can give you your first taste of the real experience, even if you are simply
doing administrative work. There could also be internship opportunities. Networking can help you find
jobs, particularly if you hope to freelance. Architects often work closely with interior designers. It’s
important to keep in mind that your first jobs may not be glamorous, but you’ll move up to bigger ones
as you cultivate relationships. Finally, it’s critical that you stay on top of trends in design, product, and