Become an Interior Designer - Careers

Become an Interior Designer    by U Urbano

in Careers    (submitted 2008-11-18)

Interior designers are responsible for planning the design of interior spaces in commercial, industrial and residential buildings. Their principal objective is to make different colors, textures, furniture, lighting, and space work together to meet the needs of a building�s occupants. Most interior designers focus on the decorating aspect of the profession, which involves choosing a style and color arrangement and then selecting the matching furniture, floor and window coverings, artwork, and lighting. However, some designers also address architectural detailing and plan layouts of buildings, including the location of windows, stairways, escalators, and walkways. To an increasing extent, interior designers make use of computer-aided design (CAD) software tools, which provide more detail and enable easier corrections than sketches made by hand. Working conditions for interior designers vary greatly. Those employed by large corporations or design firms generally work regular hours, whereas self-employed designers tend to work longer hours and in less stable environments.

Education, Certification, Licensing

A bachelor�s degree is highly recommended for entry-level positions in interior design. It is best to choose a school whose design program has been accredited by the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER) and/or by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Computer-aided design (CAD) courses should definitely be included among the electives, as CAD has become a staple of the industry. After the completion of formal training, interior designers will enter a 1-year to 3-year apprenticeship to gain experience in the field. Most apprentices work in design or architectural firms under the supervision of an experienced designer; however, some gain experience by working as in-store designers in furniture stores.

Most states require interior designers to be licensed. The National Council of Interior Design administers a licensing exam, which requires at least 6 years of combined education and experience in interior design as a prerequisite. Once licensed, an interior designer will need to undergo continuing education in order to maintain licensure. Membership in a professional association is a strong credential for a quality designer to possess. One of the largest associations in the nation is the American Society of Interior Designers, whose members can qualify with at least a 2-year degree and work experience. Specialized certifications can be earned by designers who concentrate in certain specific areas. For example, three different levels of certification for kitchen and bath designers are offered by the National Kitchen and Bath Association.