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Training & Education Needed to Become an Interior Architect

Read more about the training and education you need to become an interior architect. Learn about the job duties, so you can decide if this is the career for you.

Career at a Glance

An interior architect plans and designs the interior details of structures while ensuring that the space is safe and meets all building codes. Read below to find out more about this career, including the necessary education and training.

Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Architecture
Training Required Internship required by all states and the District of Columbia
License Required by all states and the District of Columbia
Key Skills Technical, analytical, communication, visualization, creativity, organizational
Job Growth (2018-2028) 8% (all architects)*
Median Salary (2019) $51,721**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **Pay Scale

What Does an Interior Architect Do?

Interior architects focus on the interior design of a building, including the layout of the space, and the placement of cabinets, flooring, and windows. They are responsible for ensuring that the interior follows all safety, building, and environmental codes. Interior architects must also ensure that the space meets all accessibility requirements for persons with disabilities. They meet with clients to go over the project, discuss designs, and determine requirements. An interior architect prepares the scaled drawings and documents needed for contractors and manages the contracts. They are expected to visit the work site to ensure that plans are followed correctly.

What Are the Degree Requirements?

Entry-level interior architects are expected to have a bachelor's degree in architecture, which is typically earned through a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program. Most states require students to complete their degree at one of the more than 120 architecture schools accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. The bachelor's degree program generally includes courses in mathematics, physics, design, visual arts, computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), and construction methods. Many students go on to earn their master's degree in architecture.

What Training Is Needed?

All states and the District of Columbia require new graduates to complete a paid internship that typically lasts three years. Many complete this requirement through the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). The AXP takes place at an architectural firm and, as of 2019, consists of a minimum of 3,740 hours covering six different areas of architecture: project management, programming and analysis, construction and design, practice management, project planning and design, and project management and development. during this time, interns assist with the design of a project, such as researching building codes, building models, writing specifications, and preparing construction drawings on CADD.

Do Interior Architects Need a License?

A license is required by all states and the District of Columbia. Each state has its own requirements, so it is important to check with the NCARB or the individual state's licensing board to determine eligibility. In general, interior architects need to have a degree in architecture, training through an internship, and successfully pass the multi-division Architect Registration Examination from the NCARB to obtain a license. Most states also require continuing education credits to maintain the license.

What Are the Salary and Job Outlook?

The 2019 median salary for interior architects is $51,721, according to PayScale.com. This field is expected to grow by about 8% between 2018-2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations, notes the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Competition among new graduates for internships and jobs is expected to increase.

Interior architects may be needed for designing renovations of schools, universities, healthcare facilities, and homes. In particular, the demand for sustainable and environmentally friendly design is expected to grow, and the need for interior architects with experience in this area may increase.