Interior Design is a unique fusion of art, architecture and engineering. However, interior design involves more than just choosing furniture, fixtures and fabrics. As an interior designer you’ll also need to know how to read architects blueprint, understand electrical codes and negotiate with contractors.
The designer is responsible for preparing specific interior construction designs to suit the clients taste and budget. They use computers to plan the layout and architectural details such as built in shelves, mounding, and cabinets. They also coordinate the design by choosing color palates, furniture, and window and floor treatments. Interior designers work in both residential and commercial settings, but many experienced designers specialize in particular settings, such as nightclubs and restaurants or historic renovation. Designers often join forces with architects, electricians, and contractors to make sure that their designs are not dangerous and meet construction codes and requirements.
A college-level education in interior design is essential to be a successful interior designer. Few clients would be willing to trust a designer who does not have formal training. A bachelor’s degree is suggested for entry-level positions in interior design. Upon graduation, aspiring designers typically enter an apprenticeship to gain experience before taking a national licensing exam or joining a professional association.
24 States require interior designers to take a licensing exam. Designers in States that do not require the exam may choose to take it as confirmation of their credentials. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (http://www.ncidq.org/) administers the licensing exam. Applicants must have at least 6 years of education and experience in interior design to be qualified to take the exam. When candidates pass the test, they are given the title of Certified, Registered, or Licensed Interior Designer, which varies by state. Continuing education is necessary in to maintain one’s licensure. Many qualified designers also belong to trade organizations such as American Society of Interior Designers (http://www.asid.org/).
As the economy grows, more private businesses and consumers will request the services of interior designers. Interior designers held about 65,000 jobs in 2004 according to the bureau of labor statistics, and about 30% of those were self-employed. Earnings for interior designers vary widely depending on the type of design they do. It also varied by experience, demand reputation, and whether they were self-employed. Early-to mid-career designers may earn about $30,000 to $45,000. Designers with increasingly more experience can earn upwards of $75,000 annually. Current trends in home improvement television programs have increased a trend in do it yourself design, but many people will continue to consult professional interior designers for their major home projects.