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Interior Designers picture    Interior Designers image

Interior designers are responsible for planning and designing the optimal arrangement of colors, textures, lighting, furniture, and space so as to enhance the function, safety, and aesthetics of interior spaces. The interior spaces that designers work on include not only private residences but in fact almost every type of building (e.g., offices, theaters, shopping malls, airport terminals, hotels, restaurants, schools, and hospitals). The traditional focus of an interior designer is decoration (in fact sometimes designers are referred to as Interior Decorators), meaning the choice of a style and color palette followed by the selection of complementary furniture, floor and window coverings, lighting, and accessories. However, the job description has expanded in recent years as more designers have become involved in architectural detailing (e.g., crown molding and built-in bookshelves) and in larger-scale layout planning of buildings undergoing renovation (e.g., locations of windows, stairways, escalators, and walkways).

Many interior designers specialize in a particular discipline or niche design area such as hospitality, health care, or institutional design. These specialty areas are continually evolving and tend to be limited only by the imagination. Awareness of non-traditional factors such as health and accessibility issues is becoming increasingly important in the profession as the ability of interior spaces to create positive changes in people's lives is becoming more widely recognized. The role of an interior designer in today's world involves the ability to read blueprints, understand building and fire codes, and know how to make space accessible to people who are disabled. Designers often collaborate with architects, electricians, and building contractors to optimize safety and ensure that construction requirements are met.

Responsibilities

The work process followed by an interior designer is generally the same regardless of the type of space being worked on. The first step is to determine the client's needs and wishes by meeting with the client to find out how the space will be used and to get a feel for the client's preferences and budget. The designer will also visit the location in order to scope the layout, size up potential problems, and take inventory of existing furniture and equipment. As a second step in the process, the designer will formulate an initial design plan and estimate costs. This is often done nowadays with the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software, which provides more detail and precision than hand-sketches (and in addition is easier to make corrections to). After the initial design proposal is completed, the designer will present it to the client and make revisions based on the client's input.

Once the design concept is finalized, the designer will begin identifying the specific materials and furnishings required (e.g., furniture, lighting, flooring, wall coverings, and artwork). Depending on the type of structure and complexity of the project, the designer might also submit drawings for approval by a building inspector to ensure that the design meets local codes. If a project involves a structural component, the designer will interface with an architect or engineer to cover that part of the project. In many cases, the designer is also responsible for contracting out the technical work that needs to get done (e.g., lighting, plumbing, and electrical wiring). As a final step before work begins, the designer will develop a timeline for the project. Working from that timeline, the designer will oversee the installation of the design elements, coordinate the contractor work schedules, and make sure the work is completed on time. After the project is complete, the designer and client will jointly visit the building site to ensure client satisfaction. The designer will subsequently make any corrections needed.

Job Characteristics

Working conditions for interior designers vary widely and depend quite a bit on the circumstances of employment. Designers who are self-employed or work for small consulting firms tend to have erratic and variable work weeks, quite often meeting with clients during evening or weekends when necessary. Their workloads are sporadic and depend on how busy they happen to be at a given time, and they tend to work in relatively small and somewhat congested environments. On the other hand, designers employed by large corporations or design firms generally work more normal hours in relatively comfortable settings.

Traditionally, interior designers tend to do a relatively large amount of traveling to visit different locations, studios, or clients' homes and offices. Although this is still true, modern technology now allows designers to save time by conducting a significant amount of research and purchasing online. This same technology has also simplified the process of contacting clients and communicating design alternatives to them, resulting in a smaller amount of travel needing to be done than before. There can be a great deal of satisfaction derived from interior design work. The designer is able to see the fruits of his/her artistic expression and the culmination of his/her creative ideas and careful planning translate into a beautiful finished product. On the other hand, there is also a notable amount of stress generally associated with the profession. The need to meet deadlines, stay on budget, and please clients, and (for those who are self-employed) to continually seek out new clients can contribute to the stress.

In order to be a good interior designer, an individual should be creative, imaginative, open to new ideas and influences, and quick to react to changing trends. Communication is very important and a good designer must be able to communicate his/her ideas not only verbally but also visually and in writing. Designers who understand the basics of architecture and engineering and are familiar with computer-aided design software have a definite advantage in the job marketplace. And as in many professions, the ability to budget one's time, to meet deadlines and production schedules, and to work independently and under pressure are additional important traits.

Employment Outlook

The field is an expanding one and correspondingly, future employment growth is expected to be faster than that of the average profession. However, this job growth is balanced by am equivalent growth in competition for available positions because of the fact that many talented individuals tend to be attracted to this profession.

An increase in homeowner wealth, combined with a growing popularity of home improvement, is expected to result in an increase in demand for residential designers over the upcoming decade. Most homeowners who have been using the equity in their homes to remodel aging kitchens and bathrooms and to finance new additions seek out the assistance and support of interior designers to make these improvements happen. However, a bi-product of the home improvement trend has been a trend in do-it-yourself design, which could serve to counterbalance employment growth of designers. On the non-residential side, a high demand from the hospitality industry (e.g., hotels, resorts, and restaurants) is expected to match an expected increase in tourism. Similarly, demand for interior design services from the health care industry also is expected to be high to satisfy an anticipated demand to create comfortable and homelike facilities to accommodate an aging population.

On the negative side, interior designers are expected to face keen competition for available positions due to intense competition in the field. Those who lack formal training or come up short in creativity and perseverance could find it difficult to establish and maintain a successful career. Also, the design industry can find itself at the mercy of a fickle economy. Design services are generally considered a luxury expense and as such may be among the first casualties of a slow economy, which in turn can have a detrimental effect on employment of interior designers.

Interior Design Schools, Certification, and Licensing

Entry into the interior design profession usually requires graduation from an accredited college, university or professional school of interior design. Depending on the school and degree being pursued, training programs can take anywhere between two to four years to complete. Ideally, a bachelor's degree should be pursued by those seeking entry-level positions but at minimum candidates should strive for a certificate or associate's degree. Those who hold a bachelor's degree usually qualify for a formal design apprenticeship program.

There are over 200 institutions offering programs which are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. The National Council for Interior Design Accreditation also accredits over 140 bachelor's degree programs in interior design, many of which are offered from the school's department of art, architecture, or home economics. After formal training is completed, interior designers will typically enter a 1- to 3-year apprenticeship to gain experience before taking a licensing exam. In most cases, apprentices will work in a design or architecture firm under the tutelage of an experienced designer or as an in-store designer in a furniture store.

Many states in the U.S. (about half of them) require registration and/or licensure of interior designers. The National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) administers a licensing exam which requires applicants to have at least six years of combined education and experience in interior design, of which at least two of those years must consist of formal postsecondary education. Once a candidate passes the qualifying exam, he/she achieves the title of Certified, Registered, or Licensed Interior Designer. In some states, licensure must be periodically renewed by earning continuing education credits.

Designers can demonstrate their qualifications and professional standing by choosing to apply for membership in the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Membership requirements include a combination of training and experience, along with the passing of the NCIDQ examination. Optional certifications are available in certain specialties of the profession. The National Kitchen and Bath Association offers three different levels of certification for kitchen and bath designers, each achieved through training seminars and certification exams. Designers who possess environmental expertise in design solutions for sustainable construction can receive accreditation in this specialty area by taking the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) examination.

Resources

Major Employers

Approximately one of every four interior designers is self-employed. Many perform freelance work while at the same time holding a salaried job in interior design or in a completely different occupation. Some of the principal employers of interior designers include furniture and home-furnishing stores, building material and supplies dealers, residential building construction companies, and architectural services for both construction and landscaping.

Schools for Interior Designers are listed in the column to the left.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Interior Designers

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Interior Designers jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 290 $55,750
Birmingham 290 $55,750
Huntsville 70 $40,740
Mobile 30 $40,790
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 40 $42,730
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 640 $48,060
Mesa 640 $48,060
Phoenix 640 $48,060
Tucson 110 $28,890
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 130 $39,730
North Little Rock 130 $39,730
Little Rock 130 $39,730
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Long Beach 3580 $60,310
Los Angeles 3580 $60,310
Anaheim 3580 $60,310
Hayward 1290 $60,920
San Francisco 1290 $60,920
Oakland 1290 $60,920
Carlsbad 740 $51,470
San Diego 740 $51,470
Santa Clara 440 $43,460
Sunnyvale 440 $43,460
San Jose 440 $43,460
San Bernardino 400 $46,680
Ontario 400 $46,680
Riverside 400 $46,680
Arcade 280 $50,650
Arden 280 $50,650
Sacramento 280 $50,650
Roseville 280 $50,650
Santa Maria 70 $52,990
Santa Barbara 70 $52,990
Fresno 70 $53,700
Modesto 70 $55,770
Ventura 70 $69,990
Oxnard 70 $69,990
Thousand Oaks 70 $69,990
Salinas 50 $59,850
Fairfield N/A $48,060
Vallejo N/A $48,060
Santa Rosa N/A $62,040
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 880 $46,590
Aurora 880 $46,590
Denver 880 $46,590
Colorado Springs 200 $40,790
Boulder 140 $45,720
Fort Collins 60 $44,970
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bridgeport 270 N/A
Norwalk 270 N/A
Stamford 270 N/A
Danbury 50 $30,090
New Haven 30 $42,400
Waterbury N/A $45,790
Hartford N/A $53,150
West Hartford N/A $53,150
East Hartford N/A $53,150
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Miami 2200 $46,480
Fort Lauderdale 2200 $46,480
West Palm Beach 2200 $46,480
Orlando 620 $41,070
Sanford 620 $41,070
Kissimmee 620 $41,070
Tampa 400 $41,760
Clearwater 400 $41,760
St. Petersburg 400 $41,760
Jacksonville 340 $41,440
Cape Coral 230 $30,840
Fort Myers 230 $30,840
Naples 220 $46,390
Marco Island 220 $46,390
Immokalee 220 $46,390
Bradenton 160 $35,200
North Port 160 $35,200
Sarasota 160 $35,200
Destin 100 $44,010
Crestview 100 $44,010
Fort Walton Beach 100 $44,010
Brent 60 $34,140
Pensacola 60 $34,140
Ferry Pass 60 $34,140
Tallahassee 60 $36,940
Winter Haven 60 $37,540
Lakeland 60 $37,540
Sebastian 60 $48,040
Vero Beach 60 $48,040
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 1430 $52,010
Sandy Springs 1430 $52,010
Atlanta 1430 $52,010
Savannah 80 $55,730
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 50 $57,030
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 90 $39,420
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Peoria N/A $38,830
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Indianapolis 440 $41,010
Anderson 440 $41,010
Carmel 440 $41,010
Fort Wayne 110 $42,060
Elkhart 40 N/A
Goshen 40 N/A
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 130 $37,450
Des Moines 130 $37,450
Iowa City N/A $48,010
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 90 $40,400
Topeka 30 $42,420
Lawrence N/A $51,890
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 140 $58,670
Lexington 140 $58,670
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baton Rouge 150 $41,630
Lafayette 100 $42,280
Metairie 100 $46,380
New Orleans 100 $46,380
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 100 $44,620
Portland 100 $44,620
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 660 $52,590
Columbia 660 $52,590
Baltimore 660 $52,590
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 650 $49,050
Warren 650 $49,050
Detroit 650 $49,050
Grand Rapids 300 $36,710
Wyoming 300 $36,710
Ann Arbor 110 $36,790
Lansing 50 N/A
East Lansing 50 N/A
Niles 40 $40,000
Benton Harbor 40 $40,000
Flint 40 $50,440
Portage 30 $48,220
Kalamazoo 30 $48,220
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
St. Cloud 50 $42,790
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 150 $28,240
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 100 N/A
Columbia 40 $55,020
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 80 $30,930
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 420 $48,180
Henderson 420 $48,180
Las Vegas 420 $48,180
Reno N/A $50,650
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 30 $44,170
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton N/A $28,230
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Santa Fe 50 $44,810
Albuquerque 50 $48,210
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Niagara Falls 150 $38,390
Cheektowaga 150 $38,390
Buffalo 150 $38,390
Rochester 150 $40,440
Albany 60 $65,870
Schenectady 60 $65,870
Troy 60 $65,870
Syracuse 40 $49,440
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
High Point 150 $33,620
Greensboro 150 $33,620
Raleigh 140 $48,150
Chapel Hill 80 $35,850
Durham 80 $35,850
Asheville 70 $43,210
Winston 70 $47,910
Salem 70 $47,910
Hickory 30 $34,800
Lenoir 30 $34,800
Morganton 30 $34,800
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 50 $42,170
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 670 $44,500
Elyria 250 $39,510
Cleveland 250 $39,510
Akron 130 $35,340
Toledo 90 $52,550
Dayton 60 $49,930
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tulsa 190 $36,700
Oklahoma City 190 $37,580
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Eugene 60 $37,010
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 380 $36,350
Carlisle 50 $50,250
Harrisburg 50 $50,250
Lancaster 50 $51,130
Hazleton N/A $33,980
Barre N/A $33,980
Scranton N/A $33,980
Wilkes N/A $33,980
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 110 $23,690
Charleston 90 $42,800
North Charleston 90 $42,800
Bluffton 60 $54,430
Beaufort 60 $54,430
Hilton Head Island 60 $54,430
Anderson N/A $40,950
Greenville N/A $40,950
Mauldin N/A $40,950
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 110 $46,050
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 490 $39,940
Murfreesboro 490 $39,940
Davidson 490 $39,940
Nashville 490 $39,940
Knoxville 80 $50,760
Johnson City N/A $34,180
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Arlington 2040 $55,210
Dallas 2040 $55,210
Fort Worth 2040 $55,210
Houston 1450 $54,700
The Woodlands 1450 $54,700
Sugar Land 1450 $54,700
Austin 470 $46,970
Round Rock 470 $46,970
New Braunfels 440 $46,350
San Antonio 440 $46,350
Lubbock 80 $40,570
El Paso 70 $45,480
Bryan 40 $48,840
College Station 40 $48,840
Midland 30 $71,260
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 330 N/A
Orem 40 $80,900
Provo 40 $80,900
Clearfield N/A $46,310
Ogden N/A $46,310
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 240 $47,690
Charlottesville 70 $40,360
Roanoke 50 $52,060
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Seattle 1350 $57,330
Bellevue 1350 $57,330
Tacoma 1350 $57,330
Spokane Valley 90 $41,970
Spokane 90 $41,970
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston N/A $38,480
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 380 $43,630
Waukesha 380 $43,630
Milwaukee 380 $43,630
Madison 200 $43,450
Green Bay 90 $42,690
Appleton 60 $42,670
Wausau N/A $40,180

Most Popular Industries for :
Interior Designers

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services 32,470 61% $46,710
Furniture Stores 6,840 12% $39,450
Construction 3,080 5% N/A
Hardware And Garden Stores 2,670 5% $39,970
Durable Goods Wholesale 2,460 4% $45,020
Furniture 1,040 1% $43,750
Business Management 900 1% $53,320
Construction Trades 560 1% N/A
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Henderson
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  • Master of Arts: Worship Studies: Worship Techniques
  • Master of Arts: Music and Worship
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  • *Excludes licensure, certification, and some doctoral programs
Programs
  • Graphic Arts (AAS)
  • Graphic Arts (BS)
  • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
  • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
  • Provides programs in health care, business, information technology, and graphic arts.
  • Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
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San Marcos
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  • Media Design, Master of Fine Arts (Online)
  • Push Your Creativity To The Next Level.
  • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
  • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
  • Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
  • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
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  • An accredited computer training academy preparing students to enter the IT industry as Network Engineers, Software Engineers, Web Apps Developer, Website Designers, Programmers, Database Administrators since 2000.
  • Holds A+ certification from CompTIA.
  • Located in Los Angeles, approximately 10 minutes away from LAX.
  • Flexible class schedules offered during day times, evenings and weekends.
  • Helping students start a career in technology within 3 - 9 months.
  • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
  • Military friendly school.
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Los Angeles
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  • Associate of Science, Film
  • Located in Hollywood, CA, offering degrees in film, music production, business, animation and more.
  • Scholarship, financial aid and military benefits are available for students who qualify.
  • Programs taught by award-winning industry professionals in real-world working environments.
  • Features industry-standard facilities including recording studios, soundstages, green screen, movie theatres and more.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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Los Angeles
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  • Graphic Arts (AAS)
  • Graphic Arts (BS)
  • Students are issued a new laptop at the beginning of their programs.
  • All online services and study materials are available 24/7, with faculty available five days a week.
  • All programs available online, with the MBA program offered on campus in Salt Lake City.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), with programmatic accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
  • Approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2010.

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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Interior Designers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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