How to Become an Interior Designer in Arizona
Interior design requires a great deal of visual artistry, technical knowledge and an understanding of universal accessibility standards. When designing an office or commercial building, a home or even a government institution, it is important to understand the lifestyles, customs, needs and desires of those who will be inhabiting or visiting the building you are designing. Interior designers are responsible for choosing fixtures, placements of windows, flooring styles and more.
Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Arizona
Nationally, there are no laws in place to regulate the profession of interior design. Instead, this career field is regulated at the state level. In Arizona, there are currently no licensing or registration requirements that interior designers need to follow in order to practice. That said, most employers prefer to hire candidates who possess either a bachelor’s degree or, alternatively, a lesser degree with at least two-to-three years of professional experience as an interior designer.
According to AZ Big Media, interior designers in Arizona must have any structural work on a building signed off on by a certified architect. This helps ensure that building codes, laws and safety standards are being followed.
There are several ways to increase your level of expertise within the trade. Completing a master’s degree program, finding an internship or apprenticeship, or earning national certification are all ways to increase your likelihood of being selected for higher-paying jobs. Since structural work must be signed off on by a certified architect in this state, you may even decide to complete a degree program in architecture. This will allow you to work more independently, though you will also be required to follow state regulations in order to work as an architect in Arizona.
Arizona Schools for Interior Designers
Earning a degree will help you find more professional opportunities within this field. Consider one of the educational options below:
- Arizona State University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design, which will take four years to complete. Tuition is currently about $11,00 per year.
- Northern Arizona University has locations in the cities of Flagstaff and Scottsdale. The school offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design, which will take four years to complete. Tuition is currently $24,000 per year.
- Penn Foster College has an Associate’s Degree program in Interior Design, which can be completed in two years or otherwise at your own pace. The program can be completed entirely online, and tuition is currently $79 per credit hour. The program requires completion of 67 credit hours, and the school often runs specials offering significant price drops in the cost of tuition.
National Certification for Interior Designers in Arizona
Working as an interior designer in Arizona will not require you to earn national certification. However, taking the initiative to earn this certification may allow you to earn higher compensation, or help expose you to more high-end clients as a freelance interior designer.
The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certification must be earned through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). To be eligible to earn this certification, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree program along with two years of work experience. The organization also allows those who have completed lesser degrees to earn certification, as long as these candidates also have at least two-to-three years of work experience to complement their degree.
This exam requires an initial application fee of $225. After your application is approved, you will need to register for each section of the exam individually. The exam sections are as follows:
- Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX)
- Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX)
- Practicum Exam (PRAC)
The IDFX portion requires a registration fee of $295, the IDPX carries a registration fee of $350, and the PRAC will require a registration fee of $455. When you have successfully completed all three sections of the exam process, you will earn NCIDQ certification. Maintaining this certification also requires payment of an annual fee of $75.
If you have recently graduated from a bachelor’s or master’s degree program, or if you are in the last year of a degree program and have not yet had the opportunity to fulfill the work experience requirements needed in order to earn certification, you will be allowed to sit for the IDFX portion of the exam only. This requires a $95 application fee as well as the registration fee of $295. Completing this portion of the exam will likely aid you in your job search, but you will still need to return to complete the IDPX and PRAC portions of the exam in order to earn national certification.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) data, there will be an 8.5 percent increase in the job market for interior designers in Arizona during the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026. Their data show that, in 2016, there were 1,190 interior designers working in this state. This number is expected to increase to 1,290 by 2026.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data indicate that interior designers in Arizona earned an average of $29.88 per hour, or $62,140 per year, in 2017. The top 10 percent of interior designers working in this state earned $125,710 during the same year.
Working as an Interior Designer in Arizona
You can expect to earn the highest pay working as an interior designer in the Yuma metropolitan area in places like Gadsden, San Luis and Somerton, Arizona.
Interior designers can be found working at architecture firms, home furnishing retailers, interior design studios and more. You can build a rewarding career for yourself as an interior designer by using your creativity, design skills and your ambition to succeed.