How to Become an Interior Designer in New Hampshire
To work as an interior designer, you must possess technical skills, an understanding of building codes and laws, along with some creativity and passion for what you do. You will be responsible for listening to the needs of your clients in order to create spaces that will be fully functional and complimentary to their lifestyles. For example, if you are designing a home for an individual who is wheelchair-bound, you will want to make sure that the bathtub, kitchen cabinets and other important fixtures are accessible to them. Likewise, if you are designing a daycare facility, you will need to make sure it is designed in a way that is safe and child-friendly.
Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in New Hampshire
Though national regulations do not exist in governance of interior design, many states have chosen to set laws in place, requiring interior designers to meet certain standards before practicing. In New Hampshire, however, you will be able to work in this career field as long as you meet the common minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree. In some cases, you will be able to find employment with an associate’s degree, however you will need to also have at least two-to-three years of work experience within the trade. Associate degree programs with transferable credits could also set the foundation for earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture or interior design. Further, national certification could also help you find employment with less than a bachelor’s degree under your belt.
States that have chosen to regulate this profession will often require interior designers to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam. Since employers do not require candidates to have this certification in New Hampshire, earning this credential will show that you desire to build a fruitful career within this profession. This credential could lead to higher pay or an increase in job offers. Alternatively, if you will work as a freelance interior designer, this certification could allow you to attract higher paying clients.
In addition to earning certification, you may also choose to complete an internship or apprenticeship program to continue expanding your knowledge of the craft. You may also choose to return to school to earn a master’s degree to create more options for yourself in the professional world.
New Hampshire Schools for Interior Designers
Since minimum requirements to find employment will include completion of a degree or certificate program, you may consider enrolling in one of the degree programs below:
- Manchester Community College offers an associate degree program in interior design, which will take two years to complete. Tuition and fees for the entire program total out to $16,360.
- New Hampshire Institute of Art is located in the city of Manchester, and offers a certificate program in interior design. The program can be completed in less than one year, and all classes total out to about $1,500.
- Penn Foster College offers an associate degree program in interior design, which can be completed entirely online in just two years. Tuition is currently $79 per credit hour, and the program consists of 67 credit hours. Penn Foster often runs specials providing significant price drops in the cost of tuition.
National Certification for Interior Designers in New Hampshire
The NCIDQ certification is not required in the state of New Hampshire, but if you would like to earn it any way, you must go through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ).
The CIDQ will allow you to sit for this exam as long as you have a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of work experience within the trade. Those who have completed degree programs which took less than four years of study are also allowed to sit for the exam, as long as they have at least three-to-four years of professional work experience.
The NCIDQ examination process consists of three sections. These include an Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), an Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) and a Practicum Exam (PRAC). To apply for the examination process, you will first need to pay a $225 application fee. Next, you will be required to register for each of the three exam sections individually. This will require an additional payment of $295 for the IDFX, $350 for the IDPX and $455 for the PRAC. Upon passing all three exam sections, you will receive NCIDQ certification. Maintaining certification requires payment of an annual fee of $75.
The CIDQ realizes there are students who may want to earn certification without having met work experience requirements. If you are in the last year of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program, or if you have completed a degree program and have not yet earned professional experience within the trade, you will be allowed to sit for the IDFX portion of the exam only. This will be a great addition to your resume, however you will not be able to earn NCIDQ certification until you have also completed the IDPX and PRAC sections of the exam. To sit for the IDFX only, you will need to pay an application fee of $95, as well as the $295 registration fee.
Outlook and Salary Expectations
During 2016, the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) reported that there were 190 people working as interior designers in New Hampshire. By 2026, the PMP expects this number will increase to 200, which signifies a 4.3 percent increase in the job market during this 10-year period.
On average, interior designers working in New Hampshire earned $23.45 per hour, or $48,770 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released in 2017. The highest paid interior designers working in this state earned about $73,440 during the same year.
Working as an Interior Designer in New Hampshire
If you’ve always looked at the ceilings inside malls, the pillars inside government buildings, or even the placements of walls and windows inside your home, and wondered who decided where to place these fixtures, you may want to consider becoming an interior designer. You can be the one responsible for determining what goes where inside a particular space, why a ceiling should be high or low, or why a room should have three walls instead of four.
Some of the highest paid interior designers in New Hampshire work in cities like Amherst, Brookline and Hollis, among others.
Interior designers work at places like home furnishing retailers, construction firms, architecture firms and interior design studios. The job market for this career will continue to expand in the coming years, so now is a great time to start your journey as an interior designer.