If you have a strong creative bent and an eye for visuals but the life of the starving artist is not for you, you may want to consider a career in interior design. Many interior designers specialize in a certain area, such as sustainable design, designing professional workspaces or designing kitchens and baths. However, the first step is to get an education in interior design, where you’ll learn more about the potential paths your career can take.
Paying for School
At minimum, you’ll probably need a bachelor’s degree although there are associate’s degrees in interior design available. Whether you are seeking an associate’s, a bachelor’s or a graduate degree in the field, you are probably concerned about how you will pay for it. The first step is to find out what grants and scholarships are available to you since these do not have to be paid back. You may find out that you qualify for some after you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
This also tells you how much you are eligible for in federal student loans. Once you have this information, you’ll know how much you need to get in private grants, scholarships and loans. There are many scholarships out there with awards that range from a few hundred dollars to full tuition, so be sure to research these. Private student loans can make the difference between being able to attend the program you want and having to settle for a lesser choice or not going to college at all. Be sure to explore the offers from a number of lenders, both online and off, so you can make the best choice.
Ideally, you would major in interior design, but there are opportunities to move into the field with other majors. Whatever you study, you will need to take classes in such topics as CAD and drawing. You should learn about color and design theory, architectural history and materials. Keep in mind that interior design is not quite the same thing as interior decorating. While they both focus on making spaces more beautiful, more functional or both, a designer needs to also have a knowledge of such things as accessibility and building codes.
Licensing and Accreditation
You may be surprised to learn that just like people in professions like medicine and law, you might need a license to practice as an interior designer. Regulations vary from state to state, so be sure that you understand the rules for the state you want to work in. Some will require you to have a license to do any interior design work while others will allow you to practice but not to call yourself an interior designer.
Still others have no licensing requirements. Hundreds of colleges, universities and other educational facilities with interior design programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design while nearly 200 programs offering bachelor’s or master’s degrees are accredited by the Council of Interior Design Accreditation. If you are interested in bathroom and kitchen design, you’ll want to look for a program accredited by the National Kitchen & Bath Association.