How to Become an Interior Designer in Mississippi
Interior designers are professionals who decide how spaces in homes, offices or government buildings should look and function. Your clients will express what they want for their space, and it is up to you to use a combination of creative and technical skills to ensure that the space is both efficient and visually engaging. As an interior designer you may create floor plans, oversee furniture layouts and help coordinate placement of fixtures. Interior designers must also be familiar with building codes and safety regulations. Most interior designers hold a degree in interior design or have an architectural degree or background.
Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Mississippi
There are no national requirements to work as an interior designer, but it is a profession that is regulated by state. Some states require licensure, while others leave certification and registration optional.
There are no mandatory statewide requirements for working as an interior designer in Mississippi. However, you do have the option to become a certified interior designer on both a state and national level. Statewide certification is regulated by the Mississippi State Board of Architecture (MSBOA). National certification is gained through taking the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam that is offered by the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). Completing a degree in interior design from an accredited university and work experience are required for both certifications.
Mississippi Schools for Interior Designers
To become a certified interior designer in the state of Mississippi and also nationally, you must first complete a formal education training program that has been accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Mississippi has a few options for you.
- Mississippi College in Clinton offers a four-year bachelor’s in arts degree in interior design. This program covers a variety of coursework including: basic design, interior environments, history of architecture and interiors, building construction and computer-generated drafting. This program provides students with the aesthetic and technical skills needed for a career in commercial or residential interior design.
- Mississippi State University also offers a four-year bachelor’s degree in interior design. The MSU program covers the interior elements, materials and sources of interior design. Graduates of this program had a 100 percent job placement rate in 2016.
National and Statewide Certification for Interior Designers in Mississippi
To become a certified interior designer in the state of Mississippi, you are required to have an interior design degree and take and pass all three sections of the NCIDQ exam. After you have shown proof of education and passed the exam, you may apply for certification. The application fee is $175.00. Certification must be renewed by paying a $250.00 fee biannually and completing 12 continued education credits twice a year as well.
National certification is also available and voluntary. To sit for the exam, students must have either a four-year degree in interior design combined with two years of work experience, or a lesser degree in interior design combined with work experience if the combination is equal to a minimum of six years.
The NCIDQ exam has three parts: the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) and the Practicum Exam (PRAC). An application fee of $225 is required to take all three sections of the exam. Then you can register for each part individually. There are different registration fees for each part. The registration fee for the IDFX is $295, the fee for the IDPX is $350, and the fee for the PRAC is $455. Once you have passed all three parts, you will receive certification. To remain certified, you must pay an annual fee of $75 and complete 10 continued education credits.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
There were 150 interior designers employed in the state of Mississippi in 2016. That number is expected to drop by 3.4 percent to 140 in the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026, according to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP). But this should not be discouraging news if you’re interested in a career in interior design, as most states are expected to see an increase in this job field.
Consider becoming certified through both the state and nationally and create an impressive portfolio that will display your hard work and creativity. Working as a freelancer is also an option. You will have to seek out your own clients, but if you are dependable and excel at what you do, clients will start coming to you.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that interior designers in the state were earning an average of $14.79 hourly in 2017. That same year they reported an annual average salary of $47,150. Entry-level interior designers will likely make less than those who have more experience. Interior designers with a bachelor’s degree or higher and both state and national certification are also likely to have higher salaries.
Working as an Interior Designer in Mississippi
Although there is an expected decrease of interior designers in Mississippi in the next few years, you still have options if you are interested in working as an interior designer in the state. A combination of education, certification and work experience paired with creativity and a keen eye for detail will help you get ahead in the field.
In Mississippi, interior designers will be more likely to find work in cities such as Biloxi, Gulfport, Jackson, Madison, Saltillo and Tupelo. They can be found working in places like The Home Depot, other retail stores that stage rooms and spaces, architecture and design firms and interior design studios. Freelance interior design can also be considered. If you are interested in designing spaces, are creative and are willing to put in the time and work to earn a degree and become certified, consider becoming an interior designer in Mississippi.