Becoming an Interior Designer in Kentucky

Interior design is a discipline that requires both aesthetic ability and technical know-how. If you would like to work at the intersection of architecture, construction and project management, and if you like the idea of working to meet the aesthetic and functional needs of clients, interior design could be a rewarding career for you.

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Licensing Requirements for Interior Designers in Kentucky

In Kentucky, no license is required to practice interior design, but it is unlawful to falsely claim to be a certified interior designer if you have not earned the voluntary certification. If you are working with an established firm under the supervision of certified interior designers, you may choose to forego certification; however, keep in mind that an interior design program, covers aspects of safe materials use, ventilation, fire safety and prevention, as well as environmental regulations and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These requirements, of course, change as new regulations are passed and differ by jurisdiction, so it is very important that projects include someone with current certification.

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Interior Design Schools in Kentucky

In the state of Kentucky, interior designers are certified by the Kentucky Board of Architects (KYBOA). Pre-requisites for certification are completion of a post-secondary degree, training and experience approved by KYBOA, and successful completion of either the Architect Registration Examination or the National Council of Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ) exam. The NCIDQ exam tests the applicant’s knowledge of those aspects of interior design pertaining to accessibility, health, life safety and wellbeing. Certification renewal is on an annual basis. It requires continuing education credits and costs $200.00.

The following are some of the interior design programs available in Kentucky that you can choose from in order to fulfill the educational pre-requisite for certification.

  • University of Kentucky (UK) offers both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Arts through their school of Interiors within the College of Design. These programs are accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Cost to attend UK ranges from around $6,000 to $15,600 per semester, depending on if you are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree, and if you are residing on or off campus.
  • Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, offers a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design that is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. They also offer an Interior Design minor, which could complement another degree in a related discipline. Cost per semester for undergraduate residents and for military veterans is $5,000.
  • The University of Louisville offers a BFA in Interior Design. Their program is also CIDA certified, with impressive graduation and employment rates. Tuition rates for Kentucky residents and residents of certain Indiana counties (with prior arrangement) pay $5,730.00 per full-time semester.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The median salary for an interior designer in Kentucky was $49,700 per year in 2021, but those on the upper end of the pay range can make as much as $94,490 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, the cost of living in Kentucky is quite low compared to other locations in the United States. Conditions in your area may vary.

Competition for Interior designers here is pretty stiff, with only 50 new jobs expected to open up in the state in the 10-year period from 2020 to 2030, so be prepared to work hard and put your best foot forward if you will be pursuing this career in Kentucky.

Working as an Interior Designer in Kentucky

Some of Kentucky’s primary economic drivers include horse farms and other equestrian activities, bourbon distilleries, and traditional music and crafts. These industries provide unique opportunities for creative expression and problem-solving in unconventional spaces.

Kentucky is very proud of its natural beauty. Many contemporary and restored buildings incorporate natural materials, such as local wood and stone, in order to blend harmoniously with the outdoor environment, and many schools and other facilities are interested in sustainable design, including LEED certification.

For those interested in working within a historical context, there are many 19th century homes of various styles and degrees of grandeur. Interior designers in Kentucky can coordinate contemporary finishes and textiles with a period-appropriate look and feel, and take on the challenge of designing comfortable modern kitchens and bathrooms that fit in with a rustic turn-of-the-century farmhouse, or a grand neo-colonial estate.

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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Is Interior Design a competitive field?

Interior design is a competitive field. The more competitive interior design jobs start in the specialized areas of the industry such as commercial, residential, hospitality and healthcare interior design.

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