How to Become an Interior Designer in Louisiana
Some of your favorite features of your home were put there at the request of an interior designer. By understanding building codes and laws, human behavioral tendencies and the lifestyles of different people, interior designers can create spaces that are functional, convenient and enjoyable.
Interior designers may design government or religious institutions, homes, offices, retail storefronts and more.
Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Louisiana
The Louisiana State Board of Interior Designers (LSBID) requires interior designers to complete an education program accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Additionally, applicants need to complete the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam before practicing in this state. Provisions can also be made for applicants who have completed education programs which are not CIDA accredited.
You will be required to pay a licensing fee of $150 in order to register with the state as an interior designer. The annual renewal fee is also $150, and registrants are required to complete five or more hours of continuing education each year. The LSBID provides an online list of possible ways to earn continuing education hours.
Returning to school to earn a master’s degree or completing apprenticeship or internship programs will help you advance quickly within the field. These additions to your resume could lead to an increase in compensation due to your skillset and expertise.
Louisiana Schools for Interior Designers
Enrolling in a CIDA-accredited degree program will be one of the fastest ways to complete state registration. Consider if one of the CIDA-accredited programs below is right for you:
- Louisiana State University is located in the city of Baton Rouge. The school offers a Bachelor of Interior Design degree, which can be completed with four years of study. Tuition and fees are currently about $11,000 per year.
- Louisiana Tech University also offers a Bachelor of Interior Design, and the school is located in the city of Ruston. Tuition and fees are currently about $8,000 per year, and the degree will require four years of study to complete.
- University of Louisiana at Lafayette offers a Bachelor of Interior Design, which will take four years to complete. Tuition and fees are currently about $9,000 per year.
National Certification for Interior Designers in Louisiana
One of the requirements for practicing as an interior designer in this state is to complete the NCIDQ exam. This exam is offered exclusively through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). The CIDQ requires those interested in certification to first earn a bachelor’s degree along with two years of work experience within the trade. If you have completed a lesser degree, the CIDQ will require that you have three-to-four years of work experience within the trade.
There are three sections of the NCIDQ exam, including the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) and the Practicum Exam (PRAC). A $225 application fee is required and will cover all three sections. Once you receive approval, you will need to register for each section individually. The IDFX carries a registration fee of $295, the IDPX fee is $350, and the PRAC fee is $455. Upon passing all three exam sections, you will receive NCIDQ certification. To maintain certification, an annual renewal fee of $75 is required.
The CIDQ allows the option to sit for the IDFX portion of the exam on its own. This is exclusively for those who are in the final year of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program, as well as those who have completed either of these degree programs in interior design but have yet to complete work experience requirements. To sit for this portion of the exam, you will need to pay a $95 application fee as well as the registration fee of $295. You will not earn NCIDQ certification, however, until you return to complete the remaining two sections of the exam.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
The Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) released data in 2016, which indicated that there will be a 6.8 percent increase in the job market for interior designers working in Louisiana during the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026. The data show that there were 480 people employed as interior designers in this state during 2016, and by 2026 this number is expected to jump to 520.
Interior designers in Louisiana earned an average of $21.08 per hour, or $43,850 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from 2017. The highest paid interior designers working in this state earned $63,100 during the same year.
Working as an Interior Designer in Louisiana
You will enjoy working in this field if you appreciate watching things come together from behind-the-scenes. You will be able to witness your sketches and virtual designs manifest into kitchens, bathrooms and even museums, depending on the design work you choose to do.
Some of the highest paid Louisiana interior designers can be found working in cities like Metairie, Belle Chasse and Arabi, among others.
Architecture firms, interior design studios and home furnishing retailers are just some of the places where you can expect to find employment. You may even choose to work as a freelance interior designer and select your own desired projects, set your own prices and work on your own time.