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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Becoming an Interior Designer


Becoming an Interior Designer

Many people use the terms "interior designer" and "interior decorator" interchangeably, however there is a difference. Anyone can wake up in the morning and call themselves an interior decorator, just as they could call themselves an artist. In order to be an interior designer, as defined by most states, a person must have education, experience, and have passed a lengthy examination. In practice, an interior designer is more of a mix between an interior decorator and an architect. Interior designers are knowledgeable about building codes, construction methods, space planning, color selections, remodeling, universal design, decorative finishes, and problem solving among other things. Interior designers might work in the residential or commercial aspect of interiors. Interior decorators are more focused on the aesthetics of a room, such as paint colors, draperies, furniture selections, and accessories. Interior decorators usually work only in the residential aspect of interiors. See the steps below to learn how to become an interior designer.

1) Look online for requirements to be an interior designer in your state. Make sure you follow the steps per the state you will be practicing interior design since each state is slightly different . Researching and understanding your state's requirements will help you determine if you are willing to commit to this career path.

2) Get educated at a CIDA, formerly FIDER, accredited school or university if required by your state. There are many online options available, but make sure a degree from the school of your choice will qualify for your state. Learn as much as you can about interior design from school,TV, magazines, internet sources, and anywhere else you can.

3) Get interior design experience working for a licensed interior designer. Depending on your state's requirements, you will probably be required to work 6 months to two years before you take your licensing exam.

4) Take the NCIDQ exam, a difficult 2 day long exam that is comparable to lawyers taking the bar exam. The exam changes about every 5 years. Join a study group and take practice tests because the test is quite pricey to take. Currently only 60%-70% of people pass the exam.

5) Once you pass the entire NCIDQ exam, you can register with your state to be an interior designer. Once approved by the state, you can call yourself a licensed or registered interior designer. You will probably be required to stamp drawings, pay dues, and do continuing education in order to keep your license active. You can join professional organizations such as ASID or IIDA in order to advance your career.

There are many places that hire interior designers and those with an interior design degree. See the tips below for help in finding a job in interior design.
1) Search for interior design and architecture companies in your area. Even if they do not say that they have a job opening, send them a resume by email instead of fax so you are earth friendly and do not waste paper. Try to send the email to a particular person instead of the general mailbox. Make sure to personalize the email to that particular company.

2) Contact commercial furniture dealers about employment opportunities in the interior design field. Commercial furniture dealers hire interior designers as salesmen and as computer drafters of their systems furniture. Working with commercial furniture requires a high level of detail and organization. If you get a job interview at a commercial furniture company, impress them with your attention to detail and organizational skills instead of your creativity.

3) Contact your interior design professors to see if they know of any job opportunities. Your professors might also know of some tips for finding an interior design job that has worked for other students or they may know of prior students who are advancing to a more advanced job or moving to a new city and are vacating their current positions.

4) Large companies often have their own facilities department that hires interior designers, so check with them to see if they are hiring. The facilities department works to create pleasing workplaces for their employees. This job may allow you to work as a client of interior designers, architects, and commercial furniture manufacturers. You should get to network many people which will help during your next job search.

5) Large production home builders often have their own interior design department which may be hiring. The interior design department helps people who are purchasing a new home select items such as cabinets, countertops, flooring, brick, and more. This job will probably require you to work weekends and after hours.

6) Look online at IIDA, ASID, IFMA, NEWH, and AIA websites for job opportunities. Contact your local offices to ask about companies who may have job openings and leave your resume if possible.

7) Contact kitchen & bath, furniture, window covering, and fabric showrooms to see if they have any job openings. These showrooms employ salesmen, display professionals, installers, and window dressers.

8) Get a headhunter to help your interior design job search. Headhunters will meet with you to determine what you are qualified for and what you are looking for in a job. Headhunters are paid by the company who hires you, so they try really hard to get you a job since they do not get paid unless you are hired.

9) Contact temp agencies about getting temporary employment at an interior design firm. Temporary work at an interior design firm will enable you to get your foot in the door and you will have something in the interior design field to put on your resume. Even if you are a receptionist instead of designing, it will help you get a feel for the environment and learn about the design business.

10) Go to as many design related social events as possible and network with many interior designers. Tell EVERYONE that you are looking for a job and ask if they have any leads. The best person to talk to at social events is the manufacturer's representatives (people who sell products that designers use, such as paint, carpet, wallpaper, etc) because they know almost everyone. Make sure you give the manufacturer's representatives your information so they can get back to you if they hear about a job opening.

11) Consider getting a non-paying internship for 6 weeks. An internship will help you get your foot in the door, give you something in the interior design field to put on your resume, and enable you to learn about the design business. Interns are often hired full time after their internship is over.

12) Look online at as many employment websites as possible while searching for an interior design job. You may find an employment opportunity on these sites and you can post your resume if that feature is offered. Don't forget to look for jobs that might not be in your area but may allow you to work from home.

13) While looking for a job, consider getting an advanced degree in interior design so you can teach at a college level. There are many options for higher education in interior design, including online courses.

14) If you are getting an interior design degree, start looking for a job at least a month before you graduate since there will be more competition after graduation when everyone is looking for a job.