According to the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Keen competition is expected for jobs in interior design because many talented individuals are attracted to careers as interior designers.
Individuals with little or no formal training in interior design, as well as those lacking creativity and perseverance, will find it very difficult to establish and maintain a career in this occupation.
About 3 out of 10 are self-employed.
Postsecondary education—especially a bachelor's degree—is recommended for entry-level positions in interior design. In addition, 24 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico register or license interior designers. Following formal training, graduates usually enter a 1-year to 3-year apprenticeship to gain experience before taking a national licensing exam or joining a professional association. Designers in States that do not require the exam may opt to take it as proof of their qualifications. The National Council administers the licensing exam for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). To be eligible to take the exam, applicants must have at least 6 years of combined education and experience in interior design, of which at least 2 years constitute postsecondary education in design. Once candidates have passed the qualifying exam, they are granted the title of Certified, Registered, or Licensed Interior Designer, depending on the State. Continuing education is required in order to maintain one's licensure.
Interior designers held about 65,000 jobs in 2004. Approximately 3 out of 10 were self-employed. About 2 out of 10 wage and salary interior designers worked in specialized design services. Another 1 out of 10 worked in architectural and landscape architectural services. The remaining of interior designers provided design services in furniture and home-furnishing stores, building material and supplies dealers, and residential building construction companies. Many interior designers also performed freelance work in addition to holding a salaried job in interior design or another occupation.
Employment of interior designers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations through 2014. Economic expansion, growing homeowner wealth, and an increased interest in interior design will increase demand for designers. However, interior designers are expected to face keen competition for available positions because many talented individuals are attracted to this profession. Individuals with little or no formal training in interior design, as well as those lacking creativity and perseverance, will find it very difficult to establish and maintain a career in this occupation.
As the economy grows, more private businesses and consumers will request the services of interior designers. However, design services are considered a luxury expense and may be subject to fluctuations in the economy. For example, decreases in consumer and business income and spending caused by a slow economy can have a detrimental effect on employment of interior designers. Nevertheless, demand from the health care industry is expected to be especially high because of an anticipated increase in demand for facilities that will accommodate the aging population. Designers will be needed to make these facilities as comfortable and homelike as possible for patients. Demand from businesses in the hospitality industry—hotels, resorts, and restaurants—also is expected to be high because of an expected increase in tourism.
Recent increases in homeowner wealth and the growing popularity of home improvement television programs have increased demand for residential design services. Homeowners increasingly have been using the equity in their homes to finance new additions, remodel aging kitchens and bathrooms, and update the general d‚cor of the home. Many homeowners also have requested design help in adding year-round outdoor living spaces.
Growth in home improvement television programs and discount furniture stores has spurred a trend in do-it-yourself design, which could hamper employment growth of designers. However, some clients will still hire designers for a few initial consultations, but then will purchase and install the design elements themselves.
Some interior designers are choosing to specialize in one design element in order to create a niche for themselves in an increasingly competitive market. The demand for kitchen and bath design is growing in response to the increasing demand for home remodeling. Designs utilizing the latest technology, such as home theaters, state-of-the-art conference facilities, and security systems are expected to be especially popular. In addition, demand for home spas, indoor gardens, and outdoor living spaces are expected to continue to increase.
Extensive knowledge of ergonomics and green design are expected to be in demand. Ergonomic design has gained in popularity with the growth in the elderly population and workplace safety requirements. The public's growing awareness of environmental quality and the growing number of individuals with allergies and asthma are expected to increase the demand for green design.
For information on degrees, continuing education, and licensure programs in interior design and interior design research, contact: American Society of Interior Designers, 608 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., Washington, DC 20002-6006. Internet: http://www.asid.org
For a list of schools with accredited bachelor's degree programs in interior design, contact: Foundation for Interior Design Education Research, 146 Monroe Center N.W., Suite 1318, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2822.
For general information about art and design and a list of accredited college-level programs, contact: National Association of Schools of Art and Design, 11250 Roger Bacon Dr., Suite 21, Reston, VA 20190-5248. Internet: http://nasad.arts-accredit.org
For information on State licensing requirements and exams, and the Interior Design Experience Program, contact: National Council for Interior Design Qualification, 1200 18th St. NW., Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20036-2506. Internet: http://www.ncidq.org