How to become an interior designer?

Are you interested in becoming an interior designer? This rewarding career path allows you to express your creativity and passion for design. Becoming an interior designer requires a combination of hard work, dedication, and an understanding of the industry. In this article, we will provide you with all the essential information needed to get started on your journey to becoming an interior designer. We will go over the educational requirements, career options, and necessary skills needed in order to give yourself the best chance at success.

Understand Requirements

Requirements for becoming an interior designer vary by state. Most states require a professional license to practice, which typically involves completing a combination of formal education and passing the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam. Additionally, many employers may require additional certifications or degrees in specific areas such as architectural engineering, space planning and design, color theory and textiles.

In order to be eligible to take the NCIDQ exam, most candidates must have completed at least six years of combined education and work experience as an interior designer. Education standards may include completion of a bachelor’s degree program in interior design or architecture from an accredited institution. Those with a bachelor’s degree in another field should complete a two-year post-baccalaureate program in interior design before taking the exam. Finally, applicants may need to provide proof that they are currently working in the profession before being approved to take the exam.

Develop Skills & Expertise

Developing the skills and expertise necessary to become an interior designer requires a combination of formal education, on-the-job experience, and an understanding of industry trends. Formal education in interior design can be completed at accredited universities or colleges. This type of program will typically include courses in color theory, drawing techniques, materials and lighting design, as well as other topics related to the field.

Additionally, seeking out internships or apprenticeships is also a great way to gain practical experience with real projects. Furthermore, staying up-to-date with industry developments is essential for staying ahead of trends and maintaining a competitive edge in the job market.

Reading professional journals or attending trade shows are just some ways to stay informed about emerging products and styles that could give you a leg up when it comes time to apply for jobs.

Education & Certification

Education is an essential step in becoming an interior designer. Most employers require at least a bachelor’s degree in interior design or a related field, such as architecture or environmental design. Some universities offer both undergraduate and graduate programs in these subjects, allowing students to gain the knowledge and experience necessary for professional practice.

In addition to traditional university courses, many schools also offer certificates that provide specialized instruction in certain aspects of interior design, such as drafting techniques or digital rendering software.

Certification is another important factor when it comes to becoming an interior designer. Certification from organizations like the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) demonstrates mastery of their standards and knowledge of the industry’s code of ethics and standards of practice. This certification can also help designers stand out from their peers when applying for jobs and attract clients who may be looking for experienced professionals with a specific level of expertise.

The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) offers three levels: Registered Interior Designer (RID), Certified Interior Designer (CID), and Professional Member (PM). Each level requires a combination of education, experience, and passing examinations.

Finding Work & Building a Portfolio

Finding work as an interior designer can be challenging, but building a portfolio is the key to success. An effective portfolio should showcase the designer’s style, design abilities and knowledge of industry trends. A good way to get started is by creating a blog or website that highlights your work and allows potential employers to view it online.

Additionally, looking for job postings on websites such as Glassdoor or Indeed can also help you find internships or entry-level positions that could lead to full-time employment opportunities in the future. Networking with other designers and professionals in the industry can also be beneficial; attending industry events, connecting with people on social media and joining professional organizations are all great ways to make connections.

Working with clients on smaller projects such as redecorating a room or designing window treatments will not only help build your skills and experience but also grow your portfolio with images of completed projects you can share with potential employers.

Take Advantage of Opportunities

When looking to become an interior designer, it is important to take advantage of all opportunities that may come your way. Joining a professional organization is one way to do this and can provide valuable networking opportunities.

Additionally, continuing education classes in the field are available through local colleges or universities, allowing you to stay up-to-date on trends and techniques in the industry. Being active in these organizations can also help establish yourself as a leader within the profession and give you insight into what other established professionals are doing.

Another great opportunity for aspiring interior designers is researching internships that may be available in their area or with companies they admire. Internships allow students to gain hands-on experience while providing them with real world knowledge about the field. They also offer potential job contacts, which can be invaluable when searching for future career options. Lastly, attending conferences and events related to interior design will not only broaden your skillset but also give you more insight into what’s trending within the industry, allowing you to stay ahead of the curve.


In conclusion,becoming an interior designer takes dedication and hard work but with the right resources and passion, anyone can obtain a successful career in this field. A good place to start is by familiarizing yourself with local laws and regulations, as well as completing an accredited degree program in interior design. Additionally, it is important to stay up-to-date on trends and be able to identify the needs of your clients. With confidence, creativity, and a strong portfolio, you can become an excellent interior designer.

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About the Author: Nick Chen