What Education Do You Need to Become an Interior Designer?

If you have a passion for creating functional and aesthetic spaces and enjoy working with people, becoming an interior designer may be the perfect career for you. As an interior designer, you will have the opportunity to transform ordinary spaces into beautiful and functional environments that meet your clients’ needs and exceed their expectations. You will use trends like custom pivot doors and flooring with just the right touch. With a strong educational foundation, you can build a successful and fulfilling career in interior design.

Interior designers can pursue a range of career paths and work in various settings, including residential, commercial, and hospitality design. In residential design, interior designers create functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces for private homes and apartments. In commercial design, they may work on projects such as offices, retail spaces, and restaurants. 

Hospitality design involves creating spaces for hotels, resorts, and other hospitality establishments. Interior designers may also specialize in areas such as sustainable design, universal design, or historic preservation. Additionally, they may work as independent contractors or as part of a larger design or architecture firm. The versatility of the profession offers a wide range of job opportunities and the ability to work on diverse and exciting projects.

In this article, we will explore the education and training requirements necessary to become a successful interior designer.

Formal Education

Most interior design jobs require a bachelor’s degree in interior design or a related field. A bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to complete and provides students with a comprehensive education in the principles and techniques of interior design. The curriculum covers a wide range of subjects, including color theory, design history, drafting and CAD (computer-aided design), spatial planning, lighting, textiles, and materials.

Some universities and colleges offer a two-year associate degree in interior design, which provides students with a basic understanding of the principles and practices of interior design. This program may be ideal for individuals who want to enter the job market quickly or pursue a career in a related field, such as interior decorating or visual merchandising.

Practical Training

In addition to formal education, practical training is essential for interior designers. Most interior design programs include an internship or apprenticeship program that provides students with hands-on experience working in the field. Internships can be completed in a variety of settings, including design firms, architecture firms, retail stores, and construction companies.

During an internship, students work under the guidance of experienced professionals and gain practical skills in the areas of project management, client communication, and design development. Internships can also provide students with networking opportunities and the chance to work on real-world design projects, which can be valuable additions to their portfolios.

Certification and Licensing

While certification and licensing are not mandatory for interior designers in all fifty states, some states require interior designers to obtain a license or certification to practice. Licensing requirements vary by state, but typically involve passing an exam and meeting specific education and experience requirements.

Professional Organizations

Joining a professional organization, such as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) or the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), can be beneficial for interior designers and should be encouraged. These organizations provide valuable resources and networking opportunities, including job boards, educational resources, and professional development programs.

Continuing Education

Interior designers must keep up with the latest trends and techniques in the field to stay competitive. Continuing education courses are available through professional organizations, colleges, and universities. These courses can cover a range of topics, including sustainable design, lighting design, and new materials and products.


Becoming an interior designer requires a combination of formal education, practical training, certification, and ongoing professional development. The most common educational path is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in interior design, although an associate degree or certificate program may also be suitable for some individuals. Practical training in the form of internships or apprenticeships is essential for gaining real-world experience, and certification or licensing may be necessary depending on the state in which you plan to practice. Joining a professional organization and participating in continuing education courses can also help you stay current in the field and advance your career.


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