What Is a Residential Designer?

Residential designers combine technical skill and creativity to develop plans for homes that improve the levels of functionality, efficiency, comfort, and appearance. Explore the education needed to become a residential designer, and get more info about their job duties and certification options. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

In order for a residence to be well-designed, residential designers must develop their plans in coordination with the architectural aspects of the building. Factors, such as accessibility and ergonomics, are considered. Social elements, including family gatherings and entertaining guests, also play roles in the function of a good design. A residential designer's job includes:

  • Improving functionality
  • Enhancing aesthetics
  • Maximizing efficiency

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2018) $53,370 (for interior designers)
Key Skills Artistic, creativity, interpersonal, visualization
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4% (for interior designers)
Similar Occupations Architect, Floral Designer, Fashion Designer

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational and Professional Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), certificate and associate's degree programs exist for residential designers, but a bachelor's degree is required for those who wish to advance to an official apprenticeship program. These apprenticeships last between one and three years. Some states require that residential designers obtain a license or complete a registration process before practicing in the field. A designer's competitiveness in the field is enhanced by proficiency with computer drafting software and specialized certification in residential design.


Residential design is closely related to architecture, but the main difference is that a residential designer is not required to hold a license in his or her state of practice. However, residential design professionals can enhance their credentials with certification from the American Institute of Building Design (AIBD). This organization has developed a national certification examination for professionals in this field, which is administered by the National Council of Building Designer Certification (NCBDC). When applicants pass this test, they gain the title of Certified Public Building Designer (CPBD). Advantages of this certification include:

  • Professional recognition
  • Advertising with NCBCD certification
  • Networking opportunities

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