Put your hands up if you’ve ever thought as a career as an interior designer? I know I sure have. This article is all about the wonderful world of interior design (as a career).
As an Interior Designer, you’ll primarily be responsible for making the insides of homes, buildings, offices and other residential and commercial places beautiful. And for that, you’ll need more than just a creative streak in you (especially with all the crazy emerging home trends which we are seeing) You’ll also need to back that up with some formal education and, preferably, some work experience.
Let’s take a look at what it takes to join this select band of individuals who make the world around us beautiful!
MAKING THE CUT
Interior Designers are, by nature, artistic, creative, imaginative and detailed oriented. The job also requires you to have excellent interpersonal skills, and the ability to think out of the box. Most importantly though, the profession is best suited for individuals with a flair for creating beauty out of the ordinary.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you need a Bachelor’s degree with a focus on interior designing to make the cut into this exciting field. But usually, your chances of breaking into the profession are greatly enhanced if:
- You have some additional profession-related courses or a diploma to your resume
- You’ve got some related work experience, even if it is offering your time designing booths and stalls at charitable events
- You have an impressive portfolio to showcase your talents, both online as well as in hard copy
The BLS estimates that the median pay (based on 2012 figures) for Interior Designers is around $47,600 per year. However, if you excel at your job, professional firms (Engineers, Architects, and Landscapers) will be scrambling to hire you at higher rates.
You can enhance your street-value by being proficient in drawing, visualising and becoming an expert in the tools of the trade, including Computer Aided Design (CAD) software and other online designing tools.
You will also increase your market value tremendously if you have industry certification from organizations like the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). You’ll need to pass their examination first though, and prove that you are worthy of your profession.
Some states may also have licensing and certification requirements before you are allowed to practice independently as an Interior Designer. Being licensed will automatically enhance your market value too.
If you were under the impression that all that Interior Designers do is make homes pretty, you’ve got another thing coming! While most in the profession do work for home developers and renovation companies, those are not the only extent of choice in this field. Other related options include:
- Working with real estate companies as a home stager
- Getting a job with engineering and architectural companies to design the interiors of homes and offices (be warned however, if you decided to go down this path, regulations will stipulate that you need to wear personal protective equipment on some work sites, especially industrial. You will have to supply your own work boots, so make sure that you choose the most comfortable work boots, such as the ones featured on The Work-Boot-Critic This will ensure your prepared no matter what your industry throws at you)
- Teaming up with event planners to set up commercial, personal and charitable events
- Designing interiors of workplaces and offices
- Creatively designing layouts and showcases for clothiers and other retailers
In short, there are so many areas of specialization, that the sky is the limit. But hang on a minute… who says you have to “specialize”? Creativity is not a monopoly of any single area of expertise. Once you dip your toes into the interior designing arena, chances are that you’ll be able to dabble in every one, or all, of the areas described above…and then some!
MORE THAN A CAREER
Once they pursue it, Interior Designing becomes more than just a “career” for most folks in the profession. It becomes a passion for creativity. And while it does fuel the designers own creative juices, it also gives them the satisfaction of being able to make other people’s visions come to life through their expertise.
That’s something that gets many individuals started out in the profession in the first place.