How to Become an Interior Designer in Rhode Island

Working as an interior designer requires knowledge of building codes and laws, an eye for design techniques, technical skills and creativity. This profession will allow you to witness your ideas manifest before your eyes, as you develop the interior setups of homes, offices, retail business and even government institutions. This career will also require extensive communication with clients in order to design spaces that will make them joyful and satisfied. You will decide where to place windows, fixtures, and doorways, along with the styles of ceilings and floors.

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Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Rhode Island

Nationally, there are no laws in place requiring interior designers to meet certain standards before practicing. Many states have decided to regulate this profession, however Rhode Island currently has no state-mandated regulations governing interior design. Most employers will prefer candidates to have a bachelor’s degree, however there are other employers who may be willing to hire interior designers who have completed an associate’s degree or certificate program, as long as the candidate has at least two-to-three years of work experience under their belt.

Students may expected to learn some of the following topics should they choose to enroll in an interior design course:

  • Materials and textiles
  • Lighting
  • Color theory
  • Space planning
  • Art and furniture history
  • Design style
  • Hand drawing
  • Material and finish applications
  • Interior spaces
  • Interior decorating

In the states where interior design is regulated, those who desire to enter this career field are often required to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam. This national certification will not be necessary to find employment in Rhode Island, however it will communicate to potential employers that you are proactive, ambitious and serious about the craft. Further, you may be able to land higher paying jobs, request an increase in salary, or quickly build your client base as a freelance interior designer, if you choose to earn this certification.

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Choosing to complete an internship or apprenticeship program, or going back to school to earn a higher degree are also ways that you can expand your horizons within this career field. Consider attending local industry events or reaching out directly to experienced interior design professionals in order to find mentorship opportunities. These experiences will help expedite your learning and improve your expertise.

Interior Design Schools in Rhode Island

Completing a degree program will help you find success in this industry more quickly. It will also get you a step closer to earning national certification, if you so choose.

  • New England Institute of Technology is located in the city of East Greenwich. The school offers a Bachelor of Science degree in interior design, which will take four years to complete. Tuition and fees are approximately $27,000 per year.
  • Rhode Island School of Design is located in the city of Providence, and offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in interior architecture, which can be completed in four years. Tuition is about $49,000 per year.
  • Penn Foster College allows students to complete an associate’s degree program in interior design. Tuition is about $79 per credit hour, and the program requires a total of 67 credit hours. The degree can be earned exclusively online in just two years. Penn Foster also runs frequent specials and discounts on the cost of tuition.

National Certification for Interior Designers in Rhode Island

The Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) is one of the most prestigious and trusted organizations in this career field. The CIDQ is responsible for administering the NCIDQ exam.

Completing a bachelor’s degree program along with two years of work experience in interior design, will make you eligible to sit for this exam. If you have completed a degree program which took less than four years of study, you will need at least three-to-four years of work experience in order to sit for this exam.

There are three sections of the NCIDQ exam. These include an Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), an Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) and a Practicum Exam (PRAC). You will need to pay a $225 application fee before you begin this exam process. This fee covers all three portions of the exam. Next, you will be responsible for registering for each portion of the exam individually. This requires 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.

If you are in the final year of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program, or if you have earned your degree and have yet to meet work experience requirements, you will be eligible to sit for the IDFX portion of the exam only. To do this, you will need to pay a $95 application fee, as well as the $295 registration fee. Once you fulfill work experience requirements, you will be able to sit for the IDPX and PRAC sections of the exam in order to earn NCIDQ certification.

Career Possibilities and Salary Expectations

In 2020, the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) released data which stated that there were 450 people employed as interior designers in Rhode Island. By 2030, the PMP expects this number will jump to 490, indicating a 9 percent increase in the job market during this 10-year period.

On average, interior designers working in Rhode Island earned $31.87 per hour, or $66,290 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released in 2021. The top 10 percent of interior designers working in this state earned $124,620 during the same year.

Working as an Interior Designer in Rhode Island

Interior designers in Rhode Island are among some of the highest paid in the country. This is a great place to begin your career, especially since the job market in this state will continue to see growth in the coming years.

You can expect to earn the highest compensation as an interior designer working in Rhode Island, in cities like Hopkinton, Rockville and Hope Valley.

Work will be available at interior design studios, architecture firms, home furnishing retailers and more. You may even choose to work as a freelance interior designer, working exclusively on projects that interest and excite you. If you want to be the person responsible for designing interiors that are beautiful, quirky or innovative, you should consider getting started today.

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Get information on Certified Residential Interior Designer programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Is Interior Design a competitive field?

Interior design is a competitive field. The more competitive interior design jobs start in the specialized areas of the industry such as commercial, residential, hospitality and healthcare interior design.

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