How to Become an Interior Designer in Hawaii

Interior designers are highly qualified professionals who improve the capacity and features of interior spaces. They create spaces that are appealing, practical and safe. Interior designers may work alone or as part of a design team. Interior designers work in commercial, residential or specialized design. They must have knowledge of design elements and design software and be able to read blueprints. They must also be familiar with building and structural codes and safety regulations.

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Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Hawaii

The profession of interior design is not regulated on a national level. Educational and certification or licensure requirements are handled differently in each state.

Hawaii is one of few states that do not have any license or registration requirements for interior designers. Since a formal education is necessary to know many aspects of the job, most employers will require that interior designers have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in interior design. National certification is not mandatory, but it could certainly help you, especially in a state like Hawaii where there are no set requirements.

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Interior Design Schools in Hawaii

To sit for the national certification exam, you will need to take an educational program that is accredited through the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) (CIDA). There is one CIDA-accredited program offered in Hawaii, at the Chaminade University of Honolulu. At Chaminade you can get a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Environmental + Interior Design. The BFA degree program is a combination of lecture, technical and studio courses. While enrolled in this program, students will compete in design events and prepare a design portfolio for exhibition at the end of the program.

Penn Foster College offers an online associate’s degree program in interior design that meets the education requirements for national certification. Since it is a shorter program, you will need to have more work experience in order to take the exam. Coursework includes: History of Interior Design, Architectural Lighting Design, Building Systems for Interior Designers, History of Furniture, Materials for Interiors, Residential and Commercial Design, Codes for Interiors and Professional Practice. Associate’s degrees can usually be completed within two years, but since the program at Penn Foster is an online course, the actual time it takes to complete the degree may vary.

National Certification for Interior Designers

National certification is not required to work as an interior designer in Hawaii, but it is an option that you should consider. You can obtain certification by taking the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certification exam. This exam is given by the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). To take the exam, you can complete any of the following education and work combinations:

  • Interior design degree from a CIDA-accredited program and two years’ work experience
  • Interior design degree from a non-accredited and two years’ work experience
  • Any other degree plus an interior design degree and two years’ work experience
  • Interior design associate’s degree (60 semester hours) and three years’ work experience
  • Interior design associate’s degree (40 semester hours) and four years’ work experience
  • Accredited architecture degree and three years’ work experience

There are three parts to the exam: the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) and the Practicum (PRAC) exam. There is a $225 application fee to take all three parts, and the registration fees are as follows:

  • $295 for the IDFX exam
  • $350 for the IDPX exam
  • $455 for the PRAC exam

You will have a 10-exam window in which you will need to complete all three sections. Once all three sections have been passed, you will receive your certification. You can keep your certification current by paying a renewal fee of $75 and completing 10 continuing education credits annually.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

According to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), there were 80 interior designers working in Hawaii in 2016. That number is predicted to increase by 2.4 percent to 90 by the year 2026. In 2017, the average hourly wage for interior designers in Hawaii was $31.22, and the average annual salary for this profession was $64,940 that same year. Your actual salary will vary by your level of education and experience as well as where you work within the state. Most interior designers throughout the state average $45,000-$46,000 annually.

Working as an Interior Designer in Hawaii

As an interior designer in Hawaii, you will most likely find work in places like design firms and retail stores. Other places to work include showrooms, architectural and hospitality firms, furniture stores and contracting firms. You may also choose to work independently as a freelance interior designer. Interior designers can find more work in places such as Honolulu, Maui and Kauai. With a degree in interior design and an impressive portfolio to show off your work, you will be ready to work anywhere on the islands.

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Get information on Certified Residential Interior Designer programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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FAQs

How much do interior designers earn in the state of Hawaii?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, interior designers in the state of Hawaii made an average of $67,200 per year in 2019. Entry-level interior designers earned around $35,600 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $99,230.

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