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What education is needed to become an interior designer?

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What is the highest degree needed to become an interior designer?
What is the educational path to take to become an interior designer?
How did you become an interior designer?

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Pam’s Answer

That depends on whether you want to be a licensed interior designer. The requirements vary by state. Anyone can call themselves an interior decorator or a designer but some states like Illinois have title laws. In these states you cannot call yourself an interior designer unless you have passed a licensing exam. You qualify to sit for the exam with a total of 6 years of education and experience, meaning a 2-yr Assoc. degree plus 4 yrs of full time work experience or a 4-yr Bachelor's degree plus 2 yrs of full time work experience. See NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) online for more info. There are also practice laws that vary by state.


There are many different paths to seek education in Interior Design. Many community colleges offer interior design certifications in specialty areas of design like Kitchen & Bath, Rendering, Green Design, etc. These take less hours to accomplish than an Assoc. degree and are a good option if you need to get into the field quickly to make income. The hours earned in these certificate programs can also be used to earn an Assoc. degree. To work in commercial interior design, you almost always need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. There are enough designers that have that degree to make jobs competitive. Not many individuals seek a master's degree in interior design. Those that do usually want to do research and/or teach.

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Priscilla’s Answer

I know that there are different opportunities in the interior design field but a Bachelors in interior design is usually how you obtain a degree in interior design. The courses offered help you become more creative, and also allow you to see space in many different ways. Usually you take other art courses such as drawing and sketching which are tools that will help you in the future as a designer.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear CVOH,

Education Needed to Become an Interior Designer

A combination of education, skills, and experience is typically required to become an interior designer. The specific educational requirements can vary depending on the country or region, but in general, the following outlines the common educational path to becoming an interior designer:

1. High School Education: While not directly related to interior design, a high school diploma or equivalent is usually the first step toward pursuing a career. Taking courses in art, design, mathematics, and computer-aided design (CAD) can be beneficial.

2. Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design or Related Field: Most interior designers have at least a bachelor’s degree in interior design or a related field such as architecture or fine arts. A bachelor’s degree program typically takes about four years to complete and provides students with a solid foundation in design principles, space planning, color theory, materials, and construction techniques.

3. Master’s Degree (Optional): While not always necessary, some professionals choose to pursue a master’s degree in interior design to further specialize in a particular area of the field or enhance their career prospects. A master’s degree program usually takes an additional two years beyond the bachelor’s degree.

4. Internship/Work Experience: Gaining practical experience through internships or entry-level positions is crucial for aspiring interior designers. This hands-on experience allows individuals to apply their knowledge in real-world settings, build a portfolio of work, and establish professional connections.

5. Licensure/Certification: In some regions, interior designers are required to obtain licensure or certification to practice professionally. The specific requirements for licensure vary by location but may include passing an exam administered by a regulatory board.

6. Continuing Education: Interior designers often engage in continuing education courses and workshops to stay current with industry trends, new technologies, and best practices. This ongoing learning helps professionals maintain their skills and knowledge throughout their careers.

Overall, the educational path to becoming an interior designer involves obtaining a relevant degree, gaining practical experience through internships or entry-level positions, and potentially pursuing advanced degrees or certifications to enhance one’s expertise in the field.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used:

American Society of Interior Designers (ASID): ASID is a leading professional organization for interior designers that offers valuable resources on education requirements, licensing information, industry standards, and career development opportunities.

Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA): CIDA is recognized as the authoritative accrediting organization for interior design education programs in North America. Their website provides detailed information on accredited programs and educational standards.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): The BLS offers comprehensive data on the occupational outlook for interior designers, including information on educational requirements, job prospects, median pay rates, and industry trends.

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