How to Become an Interior Designer in Nebraska
Do you enjoy the visual arts? Do you have ideas for a home, office space, kitchen or bathroom that you’d like to bring to life? If you answered yes to both questions, you may find that interior design is a great fit for you.
Interior designers are responsible for much more than deciding the color schemes and decorative elements that will be included in a particular space. This profession also requires an in-depth understanding of human behavior, building codes and laws, as well as universal accessibility requirements. Expanding your knowledge on these aspects of the trade will allow you to create a solid foundation for a successful career as an interior designer.
Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Nebraska
Since there are no national laws in place to regulate this profession, each state decides its own laws to govern interior design. In Nebraska, no such laws currently exist. Interior designers are allowed to practice independently, unless they wish to work in code-based environments. In these cases, interior designers need to consult with an architect. The Great Plains Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) advocates for legislation in the interior design profession that would allow interior designers to practice independently in code-based environments.
Earning a bachelor’s degree will help you find employment more quickly. You can also find employment with a lesser degree, as long as you also have at least two-to-three years of work experience within the trade. In addition to internships and apprenticeships, national certification is another great way to advance within this field, although it is not mandatory in order to practice in this state.
Nebraska Schools for Interior Designers
Earning an education is an important part of developing the skillset you’ll need to do your job effectively. Consider one of the programs below:
- University of Nebraska – Lincoln offers a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, which will take four years to complete. Tuition and fees are currently about $9,000 per year.
- University of Nebraska at Kearney offers a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, which will also take four years to complete. Tuition and fees are about $7,500 per year for in-state students.
- Penn Foster College allows students to complete an Associate’s in Interior Design in just two years. The program takes place entirely online and consists of 67 credits. Tuition is currently $79 per credit, and Penn Foster runs frequent specials offering significant discounts on the cost of tuition.
National Certification for Interior Designers in Nebraska
To work as an interior designer in Nebraska, you will not need to earn national certification, but the benefits of deciding to earn this certification could include a possible increase in compensation with your employer or a surge in clientele for freelance interior designers.
The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certification can only be earned through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). Eligibility requirements include a bachelor’s degree along with two years of work experience. If you have completed a lesser degree, you will still be able to earn certification as long as you also have at least two-to-three years of work experience to complement your degree.
The NCIDQ exam requires an initial application fee of $225. Once your application receives approval, you will be required to register for each section of the exam individually. The exam sections are as follows:
- Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX)
- Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX)
- Practicum Exam (PRAC)
The IDFX portion requires a registration fee of $295, the IDPX carries a registration fee of $350, and the PRAC will require a registration fee of $455. Upon successful completion of all three sections, you will earn NCIDQ certification. Maintaining this certification also requires payment of an annual fee of $75.
If you have recently graduated a bachelor’s or master’s degree program, or if you are in the last year of a degree program and have not yet had the opportunity to fulfill the necessary work experience requirements, you will be allowed to sit for the IDFX portion of the exam only. This requires payment of a $95 application fee, as well as the registration fee of $295. You will earn NCIDQ certification only when you have completed work experience requirements and return to complete the IDPX and PRAC sections of the exam.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) data, there will be a 9.9 percent increase in the job market for interior designers in Nebraska during the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026. Their data show that, in 2016, there were 300 interior designers working in this state. This number is expected to increase to 330 by 2026.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from 2017 indicated that interior designers in Nebraska earned an average of $20.63 per hour, or $42,910 per year. The top 10 percent of interior designers working in this state earned $65,830 during the same year.
Working as an Interior Designer in Nebraska
Nebraska cities like Benkelman, Haigler and Max are where some of the highest paid interior designers can be found working.
If you enjoy the more technical aspects of interior design, you may enjoy working at an architecture firm. If you prefer to decide where certain fixtures will be placed, what sizes they will be and how they will affect the aesthetic of the space you’re designing, you may prefer to work at a home furnishing retailer. If you would enjoy a mixture of both, working at an interior design studio may be the perfect fit for you. No matter what you choose, leverage your education and passion for design to help you land the opportunities you will most enjoy.