What Are Some High Paying Interior Design Careers?

With a creative mind and a knack for color coordination and space organization, you could be a good fit for a career in interior design. Keep reading to learn more about career opportunities and salaries within the interior design field. Schools offering Interior Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Salary Information for Interior Designers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), interior designers in the U.S. earned an annual median salary of $53,370 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The lowest-paid 10% earned $29,970 or less, while the highest-paid 10% earned $94,130 or more. PayScale.com reported in May 2019 that the majority of assistant interior designers earned $30,000-$55,000, while the majority of senior interior designers earned $49,000-$92,000.

In May 2018, the BLS also reported that the highest-paying industries that hire interior designers include the federal executive branch of the U.S. government; professional and commercial equipment supplies merchant wholesalers; travel accommodation; and management of companies and enterprises, with average salaries ranging from $67,500 to $81,100.

Although these salary figures provide a general picture of what you might earn as an interior designer, it is important to remember that your salary will vary depending on your location, employer, experience and reputation. For instance, the BLS reported that interior designers employed by large specialized firms or architectural design companies often earned higher salaries than designers in settings such as furniture and home furnishing stores. Your salary may also depend heavily on your chosen interior design specialty. Specialties include contract, residential, healthcare, environmental and hospitality interior design.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4%
Required Education Bachelor's degree in any field and interior design, computer-aided design (CAD) and drawing courses
Licensure Requirements vary by state; interior designers must typically pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam; those working in California must pass the California Council for Interior Design Certification (CCIDC) exam
Key Skills Problem-solving and interpersonal skills; visualization, artistic ability, attention to detail, and creativity

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Contract Interior Designer

As a contract interior designer, you will focus mainly on creating functional spaces for large corporate entities. Design projects may include corporate offices, shopping malls, schools, health clubs or airport interiors.

Residential Interior Designer

Many interior designers find themselves working in this specialty area. As a residential interior designer, you will work with your client on a more personal level to ensure that a design meets his or her needs, both aesthetically and functionally. Typical projects may include designs for single-family homes, modular homes, private aircraft cabins and retirement living.

Healthcare Interior Designer

Working within the healthcare sector, you may work on projects that involve designing for hospitals, urgent care centers, dental offices, pediatric facilities or assisted-living centers. Healthcare interior design requires special considerations to meet the needs of both medical professionals and patients. This type of designer must also be knowledgeable about related state and federal regulations, insurance provider minimums and safety standards.

Hospitality Interior Designer

Hospitality interior designers create detailed designs for a variety of clients in the hospitality industry, ranging from small bed-and-breakfasts to large-scale entertainment venues. Types of design projects in this area include resorts and spas, nightclubs, hotels, restaurants and theme park interiors.

Environmental Interior Designer

Also referred to as green interior design, environmental design focuses on the integration of green and sustainable materials into the design of interior spaces. With an understanding of how humans interact with the environment, you are able to create designs for work, home, recreation and healthcare spaces that incorporate green principles.

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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