How to Become an Interior Designer in Connecticut
Interior designers are professionals who seamlessly blend imagination and creativity with the technical aspects needed to create functional spaces within residential or commercial properties. Unlike interior decorators, who are not required to obtain formal training, interior designers who would like to work in Connecticut will need to complete certain educational and work experience requirements to become nationally registered.
Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Connecticut
To use the title “interior designer in Connecticut, you will need to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) after completing a minimum of an associate’s degree in interior design. Other requirements include working full-time under a licensed interior designer or architect for a period of four years. If you were to obtain more education, such as a bachelor’s degree, the required length of work experience can be lowered by at least two years. Until a combination of educational and work experience is fulfilled, you will not qualify to take the NCIDQ exam.
Interior Design Schools in Connecticut
There are a few interior design programs in Connecticut. The schools listed below offer a variety of options for individuals interested in interior design as well as interior architecture and design.
- Paier College of Art, Hamden. Paier College of Art offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Interior Design. The interior design curriculum at Paier is designed to prepare students for a career as an interior designer through a combination of education and employment opportunities. Since the relationship between interior design and architecture is strongly emphasized, students will learn basic structural principles and construction methods in addition to studio courses that incorporate conceptual design and development. Tuition to Paier College of Art is approximately $16,600 per year, not including supplies or room and board.
- University of New Haven. The University of New Haven offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in interior design and pre-architecture. Throughout these courses, students will learn a variety of new skills including lighting design, sketching and rendering for interiors, construction documents and architectural blueprints, interior systems, materials and codes and more. For those interested in the interior design/pre-architecture track, you will need to take additional classes to transfer to an architectural graduate program, including calculus, physics and sustainable urban planning. Tuition for the University of New Haven is approximately $38,170, not including room and board or books and supplies.
- Academy of Art University. Academy of Art University’s home base is located in San Francisco, California, but the college offers an online option that is available to students nationwide. The Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Interior Architecture and Design will prepare students for an exciting career in interior design from the comfort of their own home. Through various innovative online sharing platforms, the college makes it possible for professors and peers to share, discuss and submit work on a regular basis. The tuition for the 2017-2018 school year was approximately $20,952.
Certification for Interior Designers in Connecticut
In order to qualify to sit for the NCIDQ examination, you will need to have completed one of the following combinations of education and work experience:
- An interior design bachelor’s degree from a CIDA-accredited program plus two years of full-time work experience (3,520 hours under a certified interior designer)
- An interior design bachelor’s degree that is not accredited plus two years of full-time work experience (3,520 hours under a certified interior designer)
- A bachelor’s degree (minimum) in any other major and no less than 60 semester hours of Interior design work and two years of full-time work experience
- An interior design associate degree (60 semester hours) and three years of full-time work experience (5,280 hours under a certified interior designer)
- An interior design associate degree (40 semester hours) plus four years of full-time work experience (7,040 hours under a certified interior designer)
- A Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degree with three years of full-time work experience (5,280 hours under a certified interior designer)
The NCIDQ exam is split into the following sections:
- The Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX)
- The Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX)
- The Practicum (PRAC) exam.
The registration fee for each section varies. The IDFX exam has a registration fee of $295, the IDPX’s registration fee is $350, and the PRAC exam has a fee of $455. There is a cancellation fee of $150 per exam.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Sokanu data indicate that interior designers in Connecticut made an average wage of $29.43 per hour, or $61,220 annually, in 2016. Entry-level interior designers can expect to earn an average of $23.26 per hour or $48,380 annually, while top-end interior designers can make up to $45.09 per hour or $93,790 annually, according to the same data.
In 2016, there were 66,500 interior design jobs nationwide. In the 10-year period from 2016 to 2026, the job market for interior designers is expected to grow by 4 percent.
Working as an Interior Designer in Connecticut
There are plenty of job opportunities as an interior designer in Connecticut, but you can expect to find the highest number of employment prospects in the cities of Greenwich, Stamford, Manchester and West Hartford.
Interior designers in Connecticut can be found working in a variety of locations, including high-end furniture stores like Ethan Allen, and as interior design specialists with companies like Home Depot or kitchen and bath design companies, architectural firms and contracting companies. It is also not uncommon for interior designers to work in real estate or independently as freelancers. Regardless of what you’d like to specialize in, once you attain your degree and build up your portfolio, the sky is the limit.