Making Space: A Path to Your Interior Design Career
Have you got an eye for color, fabrics, and furniture? If so, interior design may be a career choice for you. Read on to learn about the benefits of an interior design career and how a college degree may get you making spaces for a living.
If you've ever spent time rearranging furniture in a room, browsing antique shops and second-hand stores in search of hip vintage furniture, or obsessing over accent walls and window treatments, you might want to consider joining the ranks of interior designers. By marrying your creativity with the right education, you can earn a comfortable living in a flexible career field.
As a career, interior design engages creative service professionals to plan and design spaces in public buildings and private homes. Interior designers may work with clients and other design professionals (including architects) to create safe, functional, and attractive rooms. The job requires a keen sense for creative visualization, as well as solid aesthetic technique, customer service, and professional communication skills, which interior designers use to present design plans to clients. For any given job, interior designers make recommendations for materials to be used and must explain how different textures, colors, and lighting schemes combine and interact to create a pleasing design. Finally, interior designers must also understand technical requirements of a given space, including health and safety regulations, and building codes.
Interior Design Careers: A Flexible Living
Besides the ability to put your design skills to work, there are other benefits to working in interior design. One major benefit to an interior design career is flexibility. If you aspire to a stable, full-time position, several top-paying industries employ interior designers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics specialized design services employed 20,820 interior designers as of May 2007. Other top industries employing interior designers included architectural, engineering, and related services (with 9,680 interior design jobs in May 2007), and furniture retailers (with 5,770 jobs).
Depending on your preparedness to face the competition and your desire for high earnings, you may find some industries more attractive than others. Specialized design and architecture firms tend to offer larger and more stable salaries. In May 2007, mean annual wages for interior designers in specialized design services stood at $51,520. Designers working for architectural, engineering, and related services earned $52,000 on average.
If you're looking for a more flexible pay scale and schedule, you can ply your trade as a self-employed interior designer. In 2006--the last year the Bureau of Labor Statistics accounted for self-employed interior designers--26 percent of interior designers were self-employed.
College Education for Interior Design Careers
As you might expect, finding a niche for yourself in any interior design industry requires a lot of hard work. Equally important, however, is postsecondary education. To gain entry-level interior designer positons, experts recommend postsecondary education--especially bachelor's degrees. Although many colleges and universities offer two-year certificate and associate's degree programs, bachelor's degrees are generally considered more appropriate if you want to move from a college degree into internships or formal apprenticeship programs. Between formal college training and an apprenticeship program, you can prepare yourself to gain state licensure, a requirement for interior designers practicing in twenty-three states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
With so many different venues for new designers to ply their work, ample compensation for dynamic, creative work, and as many as 250 postsecondary institutions offering degrees in interior design, you have every reason to make space for your talent. Check out interior design career training today.