How to Become an Interior Designer in New Mexico

If you could design your dream office, what would it look like? Would you include lots of windows or no windows at all? Closet space, ceiling height and even lighting types are typically determined by interior designers. To properly make decisions about what should be included in a space and where, interior designers must understand building codes and laws, universal accessibility standards, human behavior and even cultural aspects of the person or group of people for whom the space is being designed. These components ensure that buildings and homes are safe, functional and convenient for people to inhabit or visit.

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Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in New Mexico

In New Mexico, the interior design profession is overseen by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (NMRLD). Applicants are required to complete a combination of six years of education and work experience within the field before registering with the state. Completing the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam is also a requirement. The NMRLD’s education requirements will be taken care of when you complete the NCIDQ exam, since this exam has its own extensive education requirements.

To register with the state, you will need to submit three current letters of recommendation, an application and a $100 application fee. When your application receives approval, you will need to submit a $200 initial certificate fee. The annual renewal fee is $250, and registrants also need to complete at least eight hours of continuing education every year. The NMRLD provides an online list of the multiple ways you can earn continuing education hours.

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In addition to meeting the state’s requirements, you can choose to earn a master’s degree in interior design, or complete an internship or apprenticeship program in interior design. These options will further improve your skillset, making you an ideal candidate for advanced opportunities within the trade.

Interior Design Schools in New Mexico

The first college listed below is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), while the second is not. Although it is highly recommended that you complete a CIDA-accredited education program in interior design, you will still be able to register with the state if the program you’ve completed is not CIDA-accredited.

  • Southwest University of Visual Arts is located in the city of Albuquerque and offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Design, which will require four years of study to complete. Tuition is currently about $11,000 per semester.
  • Penn Foster College is an online college which offers an associate’s degree program in interior design. The program can be completed in two years or otherwise at your own pace. Tuition is currently $79 per credit hour, and the program consists of 67 credit hours. Penn Foster frequently offers significant discounts in the cost of tuition.

National Certification for Interior Designers in New Mexico

Earning national certification is required to practice in this state. NCIDQ certification can only be earned through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). You will be eligible to sit for this exam if you have a bachelor’s degree along with two years of work experience within the trade, or if you have a lesser degree along with three-to-four years of work experience.

The NCIDQ exam is made up of the following three sections:

  • Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX)
  • Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX)
  • Practicum Exam (PRAC)

The IDFX section carries a $295 registration fee, the IDPX carries a registration fee of $350, and the PRAC has a $455 registration fee. You will receive NCIDQ certification after passing all three sections. To maintain this certification, you will need to pay an annual fee of $75.

Those who have not yet completed work experience requirements are given the opportunity to sit for the IDFX portion of the exam only. This option is available to those who are in the last year of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program, as well as those who have completed either of these degree programs in interior design but have not yet fulfilled the work requirements. The application fee for this section of the exam is $95. You will also need to pay the IDFX registration fee of $295. Once you have completed work experience requirements, you may return to take the remaining two sections of the exam in order to earn NCIDQ certification.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

New Mexico is expected to see a 1 percent increase in the job market for interior designers during the 10-year period between 2020 and 2030. Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) data indicate that there were 180 interior designers employed in this state during 2020, and by 2030 there will be an estimated 190 people employed in this profession in New Mexico.

Interior designers in this state earned an average hourly wage of $20.98, or $43,650 annually, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data reported in 2021. The top 10 percent of interior designers in New Mexico made $78,460 during the same year.

Working as an Interior Designer in New Mexico

In New Mexico, the highest paid interior designers will likely be found working in the cities of Santa Fe, Tesuque or Glorieta.

Interior designers may be employed at home furnishing retailers, interior design studios, architecture firms and more. You may even choose to specialize in designing luxury bathrooms, vintage kitchens or grandiose staircases. Your imagination, innovation and dedication to the craft will help you in building a rewarding career as an interior designer.

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Is Interior Design in demand?

As the demand for renovation projects increases, homeowners and companies are expected to need services provided by interior designers to help create safe and functional spaces.

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