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What qualifications are required by most interior design firms? If I do not get a bachelor's in interior design, what is another acceptable subject to get my degree in that relates to interior design?

Updated Orlando, Florida

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Pam’s Answer

Updated Barrington, Illinois

Now most interior design firms want you to have the ability to use a few different software programs. The most commonly asked for are probably AutoCAD, Autodesk Revit, Adobe Photoshop and Sketchup.


There are schools with Associates degree programs that are around 60 - 72 credit hours. These are usually offered at community colleges and take 2 - 2 1/2 years to complete going full time. They usually also offer certificate programs that take less hours than earning an Assoc. degree. They are in areas of concentration like Kitchen & Bath, Perspective & Rendering or Technical Drawing. You can earn them alone or in addition to a degree. There are some jobs available for those with a certificate only. As with most fields, the more education you have, the more jobs options you have.


A bachelor's degree is usually 120 + credit hours. A bachelor's degree is almost always required to attain a position working on commercial projects. This is not the case to work on residential projects; you could have only a certificate or an associates or bachelor's degree.


The field of study closest to interior design is architecture. While it is more focused on general building design and construction, architects usually do have a little education in areas that interior designers focus on like color, materials and lighting. If you really want to do interior design, you should receive that degree. Architects take courses you may not have aptitude or interest in like <span style="color: rgb(40, 40, 40);">design, graphics, computer applications, architecture and art history, mathematics, physics, structural systems, and building and materials construction.</span>