Becoming an Interior Designer in Missouri
Like an architect, an interior designer creates spaces for people to inhabit. Functionality, aesthetics and comfort are all important. In addition to more permanent features of a building’s interior, such as walls, flooring and ventilation systems, interior designers also coordinate furniture, paints, cabinetry and fixtures. It can be said that interior design is a field that uses both sides of the brain. It requires knowledge of regulations and careful planning for construction, as well as a keen eye and imagination for how light, sound, color, temperature and other features of a space will come together to create the desired effect.
Requirements for Becoming an interior designer in Missouri
There are no legal requirements for working as an interior designer in Missouri. Interior designers can learn some aspects of this career while on the job, for example by working at a furniture store or helping clients choose well-coordinated and practical finishes from a range of options provided by a homebuilder. However, those who wish to work with an interior design firm or take on a complex project such as designing the interior of a school, hospital or office building will need to have at least some formal education and be certified by a nationally recognized professional design organization.
Classes and Educational Programs in Missouri
Missouri offers a broad selection of educational opportunities for aspiring interior designers. Consider what specifically draws you to this field and where you would like to end up when choosing your program. Some options to consider include:
- The University of Missouri has a four-year interior design program in their school of Architectural Studies. It was one of the first programs in the United States to be accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Admission to the professional program is contingent on a successful portfolio review of work completed in prerequisite courses. In-state tuition is currently $9,500 a year.
- The University of Central Missouri offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in interior design that is accredited by both the CIDA and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
- Missouri State University in Springfield, MO, has a four-year degree and a minor in interior design, offered under their department of Technology and Construction Management. Average annual tuition is $7,376 for in-state residents.
Certification for Interior Designers in Missouri
Interior designers in Missouri can be registered under the Missouri Division of Professional Registration. Those trained as interior designers from an accredited institution can apply with a certain number of years of professional experience, related to the type of degree they hold (a two-year degree plus four years of work experience, a three-year degree plus three years of work experience, or a four- or five-year degree plus two years of work experience). All applicants must also pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification. Registered architects in the state of Missouri can apply with no other requirements. Those who hold certifications from other states must still complete the full application including transcripts and letters of recommendation, and all certificate holders must participate in continuing education in order to maintain their certification.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
The projected growth for interior design jobs in Missouri is currently at 3 percent—lower than the national average. The current median income for interior designers in Missouri is $53,000. However, at the upper range, interior designers are making $98,000 annually. Consider your expected income range when choosing a school and deciding how much you should invest.
Obtaining specialized training in a particular aspect of interior design such as kitchens and bathrooms, design for LEED certified projects or design that integrates accessibility features for the elderly or those with disabilities can help make you more marketable.
Working as an Interior Designer in Missouri
Because Missouri is largely a rural state, most interior design work and firms are located in cities, like St. Louis, Springfield, Columbia and Kansas City. In addition to traditional design firms, interior design work is available at department stores and other retailers that sell home furnishings, as well as large home-improvement stores that also offer construction and renovation services.
Interior design is interesting, challenging, creative and important work. It is a career that integrates artistic expression and engineering, construction and public safety, and a way to create something that is part of peoples’ everyday lives.