What You Should Know About This Degree
A bachelor’s degree is typically considered the minimum level of education necessary for entry into the interior design field, although a certificate or associate’s degree is sufficient for some entry-level positions. Many interior designers work their way up to senior positions through hands-on experience. However, some choose to earn a master’s degree to help advance their career, or prepare them for the field if they have a bachelor’s degree in a different area.
Each state regulates interior designers differently. Some states mandate that interior designers must have a license in order to use the title “interior designer,” while in other states, both licensed and unlicensed individuals can use the title.
In most states, in order to become licensed, interior designers must have certification from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). The certification process includes meeting educational and professional experience eligibility requirements, paying a fee, and passing a three-part certification exam.
Although students who attend non-CIDA-accredited programs can get certified, if a program has CIDA accreditation, it is more likely to meet the educational standards mandated by the NCIDQ. During the research phase, find out if the program has CIDA accreditation, as this may be a factor in deciding which program you will attend.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Interior Design programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? Artistic skills are crucial in interior design. As such, many programs ask applicants to demonstrate their artistic abilities during the admissions process by submitting a portfolio. At the master’s level, programs may also seek candidates with an undergraduate degree in interior design or a related field, and professional design experience.
- Do you need financial aid? This is an important consideration if you are thinking about getting a certificate in interior design. Typically, only students enrolled in degree-granting programs are eligible for federal financial aid like loans and grants. Talk to a program representative or financial aid counselor to find out exactly what type of resources you are eligible for based on the program you are researching.
Take a look at the program’s application requirements and deadlines when researching programs. They may vary based on whether the programs grants a certificate or a degree. Degree-granting programs tend to have more significant admissions requirements, especially at the master’s level. Find out what your financing options are as well, including scholarships, loans, assistantships, and tuition benefits from your employer, if you are currently working.