A bachelor’s degree is usually required in order to become an interior designer, as are classes in interior design, drawing, and computer-aided design (CAD). A bachelor’s degree in any field is acceptable, and interior design programs are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels.
The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits about 350 postsecondary colleges, universities, and independent institutes that have programs in art and design. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation accredits more than 180 professional-level (bachelor’s or master’s degrees) interior design programs.
The National Kitchen & Bath Association accredits kitchen and bath design specialty programs (certificate, associate’s degree, and bachelor’s degree levels) in more than 40 colleges and universities.
Applicants may be required to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability for admission to interior design programs.
Important Qualities for Interior Designers
Artistic ability. Interior designers use their sense of style to develop designs that are aesthetically pleasing.
Creativity. Interior designers need to be imaginative in selecting furnishings and fabrics and in creating spaces that serve the client’s needs and fit the client’s lifestyle.
Detail oriented. Interior designers need to be precise in measuring interior spaces and creating drawings so that their drawings can be used by other workers such as engineers or other designers.
Interpersonal skills. Interior designers need to be able to communicate effectively with clients and others. Much of their time is spent soliciting new clients and new work and collaborating with other designers, engineers, and general building contractors on ongoing projects.
Problem-solving skills. Interior designers must address challenges, such as construction delays and the high cost or sudden unavailability of certain materials while keeping the project on time and within budget.
Visualization. Interior designers need a strong sense of proportion and visual awareness in order to understand how pieces of design will fit together to create the intended interior environment.