How Do I Start a Career in Interior Design?

Competition for interior design jobs is fierce, so it's essential to have an edge over other candidates. To start a career in the field, you might consider getting a bachelor's degree in interior design and gaining work experience. Read on for more information. Schools offering Interior Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Education Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, a bachelor's degree in interior design is often required to start a career in this field. However, some colleges, universities, and professional design schools also offer certificate and associate's degree programs in interior design, which could help you start a career as an interior design assistant and add to or supplement a bachelor's degree.

Important Facts About Interior Designers

Median Pay (May 2018) $53,370*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4% increase in employment (slower than average)*
Key Skills Artistic, creative, pays attention to detail, good at problem solving, can visualize the completed product, skilled at working with clients and team members
Similar Occupations Architects, art directors, fashion designers, graphic designers, landscape architects

Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics


Formal interior design internships are usually available for those who have a bachelor's degree in the field. Design internship programs involve working under an experienced designer in a design or architectural firm. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) sponsors the Interior Design Experience Program for students completing degree programs.


Many, but not all states require that interior designers be licensed. Once you have six combined years of education and experience in interior design, you can take the licensing exam. The examination is administered by the NCIDQ. After passing the exam, you'll be a registered, licensed or certified interior designer, depending on the state in which you work.

Work Environment

Many entry-level interior designers find work in design or architectural firms. Some begin their careers as designers in furniture stores, reports the BLS. Experienced designers may be promoted to supervisory or management positions. Some open their own companies or become interior design teachers.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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