The field of interior design is always changing. Not so long ago, you had to go to a formal design or art school in order to learn the field. Today students can attend almost any college or university and major in interior design.
Professional interior designers today must be licensed by the industry in order to practice their trade. Much like an architect, they must undergo intensive study and testing before even being allowed to take any licensing testing. The NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification), requires all testers to have a combination of six years of work experience, two years of schooling plus four years of work experience, or four years in a FIDER accredited university or college plus two years of work experience in order to qualify. This intensive procedure ensures that trade licensing helps to create responsible, educated designers.
At minimum, student designers should look for a college or university that is FIDER accredited and works towards a bachelor's degree – required for commercial work. However, most high-end designers also obtain a master's degree or a doctorate in design.
What kind of classes should would-be designers consider? AutoCAD by AutoDesk, is an excellent computer aided drafting course. Those with some experience and knowledge of this software program can command a higher starting rate than those who have not taken the time to learn anything about it.
Business classes, as well as a variety of marketing courses are also a plus that many students do not consider. Interior design is 90% networking, marketing, selling, and knowing the right people; 7% paperwork and 3% design.
Some professional designer's even suggest taking an acting class or two to help you learn how to make better sales pitches.
Art classes too can help you be better prepared when taking with clients. People are visual and you'll have a better shot at convincing a new client of your ideas if you can sketch them. Also consider taking an art, furniture and antique history class. They all come in to play every day in the design industry.
Design school can be very intense. Not only do you have traditional classes and a normal workload of reading, tests and other class work, but you will be expected to complete very large-scale design projects along the way also
One important aspect of your new career that design school can help make clear is what area of interior design you will find most successful and rewarding. They're many different fields to enter in the design profession. There are residential interior designers who sole purpose is to serve homeowners, and there are commercial interior designers who work on offices, restaurants, banks, malls, hotels, and on and on. Within each of these specialties, you could have a project manager heading up the entire project or a draftsperson or even a product sales representative.
Some designers decide that they'd rather own or operate a drapery workroom or fabric warehouse, a design firm, be a partner in a firm, a painter, wallpaper hanger, carpet layer … or any of a hundred other design specialists! How you extremely use your designer's education is really up to you, your interest, and your talent level.