How to Become an Interior Designer in North Carolina
Interior designers are responsible for determining the most efficient and effective ways for a home, office or retail space to function. These professionals may also work to design government institutions, so all work requires a great deal of technical skills, along with listening skills and creativity. To determine how a particular space should be designed, interior designers will consider the different types of people who will be entering the space, as well as the needs and desires of the people for which the space is being constructed. This helps interior designers decide where furnishings should be placed, as well as the styles of fixtures to include.
Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in North Carolina
Certain states have opted to set laws and regulations that interior designers are required to follow before finding employment. In North Carolina, however, no such laws or regulations exist. Employers will usually require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree before choosing to hire them, but some may hire those with less than a bachelor’s but who have some work experience in the field.
Additional educational or work experience will help you find opportunities that may not be available to you otherwise. National certification is also available for those who qualify. Internships, apprenticeships or mentorship opportunities may be found by networking with peers and colleagues online or in-person at local industry events. Taking the initiative to go the extra mile will help exemplify your passion and skill level within the trade, allowing you to make a distinguished name for yourself as an interior designer.
North Carolina Schools for Interior Designers
Since you’ll likely need to complete a degree program to find employment in this field, you should consider one of the post-secondary training options below:
- Western Carolina University is located in the city of Cullowhee and offers a Bachelor of Science degree in interior design. Tuition is currently about $27,000 for the entire program, which will take four years to complete.
- Wake Technical Community College is located in the city of Raleigh. The school offers an Associate in Applied Science in interior design, which will take about two years to complete. Tuition is currently about $15,000 for the entire program.
- High Point University is a private college that offers a Bachelor of Science degree in interior design, which can be completed in four years. Tuition is currently about $35,000 per year.
National Certification for Interior Designers in North Carolina
Working as an interior designer in North Carolina will not require you to have national certification. But choosing to earn this certification could help you land higher paying jobs, or help expose you to higher paying clients if you will work as a freelance interior designer.
The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certification is offered exclusively through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). To earn this certification, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree, along with two years of work experience under your belt. You may also qualify to sit for this exam if you have completed a degree program that took less than four years of study, as long as you also have at least three-to-four years of work experience to complement your degree.
The NCIDQ exam consists of three sections, which include the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) and the Practicum Exam (PRAC). There is a $225 application fee required before testing, which covers all three sections. Upon approval, applicants will then be required 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. When you pass all three exam sections, you will then receive NCIDQ certification. To maintain certification, you will need to pay an annual fee of $75.
If you are in the last year of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program, or if you have graduated and have not yet completed two years of work experience, the CIDQ will allow you to sit for the IDFX portion of the exam only. This requires a $95 application fee, as well as the $295 registration fee. Once you have at least two years of work experience, you will be eligible to return and complete the IDPX and PRAC portions of the exam in order to earn NCIDQ certification.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) data, there will be a 9.8 percent increase in the job market for interior designers during the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026. The data show that there were 1,400 people employed as interior designers in this state during 2016, and by 2026 this number is expected to rise to 1,540.
Interior designers in North Carolina earned an average of $23.77 per hour, or $49,440 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from 2017. The highest paid interior designers working in this state earned $79,400 during the same year.
Working as an Interior Designer in North Carolina
You can expect to earn the highest compensation working as in interior designer in North Carolina cities like Garysburg, Gaston and Henrico, among others.
Work will be available at interior design studios, architecture firms, construction firms and more. You can take great pride in your work as you witness your design ideas come to life in a way that is tangible. If you believe this is the right career for you, take action today by enrolling in a degree program or speaking with a professional about the best ways to reach success as an interior designer.