How to Become an Interior Designer in Indiana

Have you ever entered a building and began to admire the details of its interior? We have interior designers to thank for the features, additions, fixtures and placements that make the inside of a building or home attractive. Interior designers may be responsible for everything from structural elements of a building’s interior to the color scheme of a kitchen or bedroom. Successful interior designers will understand building codes and laws, human behavior as it relates to environment, along with industry techniques and standards in order to design spaces that intrigue and inspire people.

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Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Indiana

There are currently no national regulations in place to oversee the profession of interior design; however, certain states have decided to create laws requiring interior designers to become registered before practicing, and Indiana is one such state.

In Indiana, interior designers can only refer to themselves as “registered interior designers if they are registered with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (IPLA). To register with the IPLA, you must first have either your National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certification or an active Indiana Architect license number. Upon registration, the IPLA requires all candidates to pay an application fee of $100. After two years, you will need to pay an additional $100 to renew your registration.

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If you wish to practice in this state without referring to yourself as a “registered interior designer, you should be able to find employment with a bachelor’s degree alone. If you’ve earned a lesser degree, you will likely need to have at least two-to-three years of work experience as an interior designer in order to find employment.

Professional organizations prefer to hire candidates with higher education and qualifications. Below are some of the topics that may be covered in the various interior design courses available:

  • Drawing
  • Materials and textiles
  • Design technology
  • Space planning
  • Architectural and art history

You can maximize your potential for success within this career field by following the necessary steps to become registered with the state, earning your master’s degree or completing an internship or apprenticeship program in interior design. Completing these steps will show both potential employers and clients that you are qualified and competent enough to do your job independently

Interior Design Schools in Indiana

Practicing in this state will be much easier if you have at least completed a post-secondary education program. Consider one of the universities below:

  • Ball State University is located in the city of Muncie and offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, which will each take about four years to complete. Tuition and fees are approximately $10,000 per year for in-state students.
  • Indiana State University is located in the city of Terre Haute. The school offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture Design, which will require four years of study. Tuition is currently about $9,000 per year for in-state students.
  • Indiana University – Bloomington allows students to complete a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, with the options to add a minor in studio art or to continue your education in a master’s degree program. The bachelor’s degree will take four years to complete, and tuition and fees are currently about $11,000 per year.

Interior Design Accreditation and National Certification in Indiana

In order to market or refer to yourself as a registered interior designer in this state, you will need to complete NCIDQ certification. This certification is offered exclusively through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). The CIDQ requires candidates to have a bachelor’s degree along with two years of work experience in interior design before sitting for the exam. Those who have completed lesser degrees are also eligible to sit for the exam, as long as they also have at least three-to-four years of work experience as an interior designer.

The NCIDQ exam consists of three sections, which include the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) and the Practicum Exam (PRAC). There is a $225 application fee required to cover all three sections. When your application is approved, you will be required to register for each section of the exam individually. The IDFX registration fee is $295, the IDPX fee is $350, and the PRAC fee is $455. When you successfully complete all three sections, you will receive NCIDQ certification. Maintaining this certification also requires payment of an annual fee of $75.

The CIDQ will allow you to sit for the IDFX portion of the exam on its own if you have graduated from a bachelor’s or master’s degree program but have not yet completed the work experience requirements to sit for the entire three-part exam. You may also be allowed to sit for the IDFX if you are in the last year of a degree program. This portion of the exam alone will require a $95 application fee as well as a registration fee of $295. One you’ve fulfilled the work experience requirement, you will need to return to complete the IDPX and PRAC portions of the exam in order to earn certification.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) released data in 2020 that indicated there should be a 3 percent increase in the job market for interior designers working in Indiana during the 10-year period between 2020 and 2030. The data show that there were 1,590 people employed as interior designers in this state during 2020, and by 2030 this number is expected to jump to 1,630.

Interior designers in Indiana earned an average of $23.89 per hour, or $49,700 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from 2021. The highest paid interior designers working in this state earned $79,000 during the same year.

Working as an Interior Designer in Indiana

Creativity is a key aspect of interior design. It is important to understand what elements will make interiors feel modern, vintage, sophisticated or homelike.

You will likely earn the highest compensation working as in interior designer in Indiana in cities like Lowell, Hebron and Hobart.

You may enjoy working at an interior design studio, an architecture firm or home furnishing retailer. You may also decide to work as a freelance interior designer and specialize in designing the types of interiors you love the most.

Search Certified Residential Interior Designer Programs

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

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How do I get professional experience as an interior designer?

Graduate programs, internships or an apprenticeship is a great way to transition smoothly from school to the workplace.

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