How to Become an Interior Designer in Massachusetts

If you consider yourself to be a creative person and have always wanted to make a living at a creatively-driven job, becoming an interior designer in Massachusetts may be a great option. Interior designers are highly creative professionals who work closely with architects, contractors, real estate companies and design firms to improve the function, safety and aesthetics of interior spaces. In other words, interior designers work hard to ensure that interior spaces are both functional and appealing to their clients or their employer

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To work as an interior designer in Massachusetts and use the title “interior designer, you will need to complete a combination of educational and work requirements to be eligible to take the

National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ).

Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Massachusetts

Before you can use the title of interior designer in Massachusetts, you will need to become nationally certified by taking the NCIDQ examination through the CIDQ. To be eligible to take the exam, you need to acquire a minimum of an associate’s degree in the field in addition to four years of work experience under a licensed interior designer or architect. By pursuing more education, your work experience requirements will be reduced. If you were to obtain a bachelor’s degree that includes a minimum of 60 semester hours of interior design coursework, your work experience requirements would be reduced to two years.

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Interior Design Schools in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has many colleges and universities that offer degrees in interior design or interior architecture and design, all of which will bring you one step closer to being eligible to take the NCIDQ exam. These are some of your options throughout the state:

  • Boston University. Boston University offers a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Architectural Studies that takes advantage of Boston’s vibrant architectural scene. This degree program will provide students with superb knowledge of both architecture and interior design, including the ability to think critically and technically about design options, as well as visual, spatial and structural issues that could arise. Delivering the foundation needed to sit for the NCIDQ exam, this degree program is a great option for students interested in working as an interior designer for architectural firms or contracting companies.
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Located in Boston, “Mass Art offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Architectural Design as well as an MFA in Architectural Studies. The BFA degree will provide students with the knowledge and experience to design buildings, interiors and structures that satisfy social, aesthetic, safety and ecological considerations. Mass Art provides a hands-on approach that includes model making and 3D digital creations.
  • Newbury College. Located in Brookline, Massachusetts, Newbury College offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Interior Design. Over the course of four years, students will be immersed in a variety of different classes that will help them develop effective graphic and verbal communication skills while inventing unique design approaches. From the principles and elements of design to computer-aided design (CAD), students will gain both the technical and creative background necessary to work successfully as an interior designer.

Certification for Interior Designers in Massachusetts

While an associate’s degree in interior design as well as four years of full-time work experience is the minimum requirement to take the NCIDQ exam, any of the following combinations can be used to qualify:

  • An interior design bachelor’s degree from a CIDA-accredited program plus two years of full-time work experience (3,520 hours under a certified interior designer)
  • An interior design bachelor’s degree that is not accredited plus two years of full-time work experience (3,520 hours under a certified interior designer)
  • A bachelor’s degree (minimum) in any other major and no less than 60 semester hours of Interior design work and two years of full-time work experience
  • An interior design associate degree (60 semester hours) and three years of full-time work experience (5,280 hours under a certified interior designer)
  • An interior design associate degree (40 semester hours) plus four years of full-time work experience (7,040 hours under a certified interior designer)
  • A Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degree with three years of full-time work experience (5,280 hours under a certified interior designer)

The NCIDQ exam is split into the following sections:

  • The Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX)
  • The Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX)
  • The Practicum (PRAC) exam.

The registration fees for each of these are as follows: $295 for the IDFX exam, $350 for the IDPX exam and $455 for the PRAC exam. There is a penalty of $150 for each cancelled exam.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

For interior designers in Massachusetts, the career outlook for the next 10 years is very positive.

According to recent research completed by Sokanu and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average wage for interior designers working in Massachusetts was $30.18 per hour in 2017, or $62,780 annually. However, hourly wages in the state range from $17.88 to $45.63 an hour. It’s more likely that interior designers working in and around Boston, Massachusetts, will earn at the higher end of that range after spending some time in the field

By 2026, data indicate that the number of interior design jobs in Massachusetts will not change or drop, so the job market for this field is expected to remain stable throughout the state

Working as an Interior Designer in Massachusetts

If you live in Massachusetts and have decided that you’d like to pursue a career as an interior designer, there are an abundance of job opportunities for designers in the state. The city of Boston and its surrounding areas offer many great employment opportunities for licensed interior designers. Working for businesses like Wayfair, with architectural firms, design firms, contracting companies or in real estate are just a few options, but as an interior designer in the Bay State you can expect to have your pick of the lot. Regardless of what you’d like to specialize in, if you consider yourself to be creative and enjoy working with interior spaces and décor, signing up for a degree program in interior design is a good choice

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FAQs

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

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, interior designers in the state of Massachusetts made an average of $67,000 per year in 2019. Entry-level interior designers earned around $35,060 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $105,630.

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