How to Become an Interior Designer in Michigan
Interior designers are known for having a creative and technical background that allows them to prepare construction documents, collaborate with allied design professionals, and formulate scaled drawings, specifications and more. As such, many interior designers in Michigan work closely with architects, contractors, realtors and home design companies. If this sounds like something you might enjoy, working as an interior designer might be a great career option for you.
The first step to becoming an interior designer in Michigan is to attend a formal educational program for interior design, such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. To become certified as an interior designer, you will need 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 Michigan
Before you can qualify to take the NCIDQ exam you will need to complete a minimum of an associate’s degree as well as four years of work experience under a certified interior designer or architect. The more education you have, the less work experience you will be required to have before you become eligible to take the national exam. If you complete a bachelor’s degree or higher, your work experience requirement will be reduced by at least two years
Interior Design Schools in Michigan
The International Interior Design Association – Michigan Chapter provides a hefty list of interior programs available in the state of Michigan. The following programs are accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), an authority on interior design education according to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
- Central Michigan University. CMU offers a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Interior Design. This program involves the detailed design of interiors with an emphasis on an integrated approach that relates interior design to society and architecture. Students who have graduated from this program can expect to excel in many different interior design focuses including commercial and residential design. Residents of Michigan currently pay an annual tuition of $24,076, including room and board.
- College for Creative Studies. CCS’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design degree program will aid students in developing a holistic approach to creating functional environments that also respond effectively to the way people live their lives. CCS uses a collective approach, strengthening the aesthetic point of view for each student while paying close attention to the needs of each client. For the 2017-2018 school year, undergraduate tuition was approximately $21,345 per semester for full-time enrollment. Tuition does not include housing.
- Kendall College of Art and Design. KCAD offers a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design program that teaches students how to use creative problem solving and design thinking to explore the functionality, aesthetic appeal and user experience of interior environments. Using a collaborative and individual learning experience that emphasizes place-making and human-centered design, students are immersed in studio culture from day one. The undergraduate tuition for KCAD, including room and board, is approximately $30,060 per year
Certification for Interior Designers in Michigan
Individuals who would like to become a certified interior designer will need to take and pass the
National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). The exam will identify that certificate holders have successfully achieved a high level of competency in a variety of areas, including analysis of client goals and requirements, the application of life safety codes and accessibility regulations, formulation of scaled drawings, design concepts, color theory and preparation of construction documents, among others.
You will need to satisfy one of the following combinations of education and work experience in order to take the exam:
- 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’s degree (60 semester hours) and three years of full-time work experience (5,280 hours) under a certified interior designer
- An interior design associate’s 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 with three years of full-time work experience (5,280 hours) under a certified interior designer
The NCIDQ exam is composed of three sections:
- The Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions
- The Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX), consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions
- The Practicum (PRAC) exam, a full-day examination consisting of seven exercises
The registration fee for the IDFX exam is $295, the fee for the IDPX exam is $350, and the PRAC exam has a fee of $455. For each exam cancellation, you would be required to pay an additional $150.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
With numerous employment opportunities throughout the state, the career outlook for interior designers in Michigan is great.Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Sokanu data indicate that interior designers who worked in Michigan in 2017 made an average of $24.35 per hour or $50,640 annually. Top-level interior designers in the state can expect to earn up to $42.69 per hour or $88,790 annually
According to Sokanu, there were 66,500 interior design jobs nationwide in 2016. Over the next 10 years to 2026, the job market for interior designers is expected to grow by at least 4 percent.
Working as an Interior Designer Michigan
There are many job prospects for interior designers throughout the state, but opportunities in the cities of Detroit, Grand Rapids, Royal Oak and Ann Arbor are most abundant. Interior designers in Michigan can be found working as interior design associates for design companies, at high-end furniture stores like Ethan Allen, as adjunct professors at state universities and with architectural firms.
Regardless of what aspects of interior design you might want to focus on, the state of Michigan is home to many different job possibilities. Once you finish school and get some work experience under your belt, you might also choose to branch out independently as a freelance interior designer.