How to Become an Interior Designer in Georgia
Interior designers create aesthetically pleasing rooms and spaces for their clients. They work to meet their clients’ needs, as well as maintain a safe and functional space, while using artwork, color schemes, furniture placement, lighting and other design elements. Interior designers may create indoor or outdoor spaces. They may be tasked with designing a space for new homeowners or office and waiting spaces in corporate buildings. Interior designers may work independently or as a part of an architectural and design firm. Since they need to be familiar with the elements of design as well as building and safety codes, most of these professionals hold at least a bachelor’s degree in interior design.
Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Georgia
Interior design is not nationally regulated, but statewide requirements will vary by state. There are no educational or licensure requirements in the state of Georgia; however, there is legislation that recognizes and defines interior design separate from architecture.
While there is not a statewide license for interior designers in Georgia, interior designers do have the option of becoming registered and using the title of Registered Interior Designer (RID). Registration is regulated by the Georgia Board of Architects & Interior Designers (GBAID).
A bachelor’s degree in interior design is not required to work in the state but is preferred by most employers, and it is required to become registered. Passing the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam is also a requirement for registration.
Interior Design Schools in Georgia
If you want to present yourself as a highly qualified interior designer, you may want to consider taking an educational program in interior design. For those interested in becoming a registered interior designer, you must complete an interior design program at an institution that is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Here are a few of the CIDA approved interior design programs in Georgia:
- Brenau University. The Gainesville and North Atlanta campuses of Brenau University offer a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program. This program is offered in day, evening and weekend classes. Classes are small and are taught by NCIDQ-qualified instructors.
- Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). The SCAD has campuses in Atlanta and Savannah that offer bachelor and master’s degree programs in interior design. The bachelor’s degree program consists of 180 credit hours and can be completed in four years.
- Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia. The University of Georgia offers a four-year bachelor’s in fine arts degree program in interior design. This program has a heavy focus on computer-aided design (CAD), and students get to work on their studio projects in an instructional lab. This program currently has a 100 percent graduation rate.
Registration and Certification Information for Interior Designers in Georgia
Georgia does not offer an interior design license, but the option to become a RID in the state is available through the GBAID. Georgia also passed legislation allowing registered interior designers to professionally seal their work, stating that it meets safety codes and regulations.
To become registered, you must complete a CIDA-accredited educational program in interior design and take the NCIDQ exam. The NCIDQ exam is regulated by the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) and has three sections:
- The Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX)
- The Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX)
- The Practicum (PRAC) exam
To take all three parts you must pay an application fee of $225. After you have applied, you have a 10-exam window to register and take all three sections. The registration fees are $295 for the IDFX, $350 for the IDPX and $455 for the PRAC. If you cancel, you will have to pay a $150 cancellation fee for each exam you cancel. You will receive certification once you have passed all three parts within the allotted time. To renew certification, you will need to pay an annual fee of $75 and show proof of having completed 10 continued education credits.
After you have passed the NCIDQ exam, you may register as an interior designer in Georgia. The registration fee is $50.00. To keep your registration current, you must pay an annual fee of $90.00 and take 12 continued education credits every two years.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), there were 2,040 interior designers in Georgia in 2016, and that number is expected to increase by 14.5 percent by 2026, making at least 290 more interior design jobs available in the state.
In 2017, the average hourly pay for an interior designer in Georgia was $24.29. The average annual pay for interior designers that same year was $50,530. Salary will vary depending on several factors. Interior designers who have a bachelor’s or master’s degree and experience will earn more than those who are working at entry level. Interior designers are also likely to make more in highly populated areas than in rural ones.
Working as an Interior Designer in Georgia
As an interior designer you can expect to find work in places such as architectural and design firms, furniture stores and retail stores. You may work as a corporate designer, a healthcare facility designer, kitchen designer, residential designer, historic preservationist or a space planner. You may also consider working as a freelance interior designer.
Work for interior designers in Georgia is more commonly found in cities like Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah. However, with an interior design degree and your own personal creativity, you should be ready to find work almost anywhere in the state.
How much do interior designers earn in the state of Georgia?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, interior designers in the state of Georgia made an average of $57,920 per year in 2019. Entry-level interior designers earned around $29,120 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $93,090.