How to Become an Interior Designer in Texas

Interior designers appreciate building spaces that will be functional, enjoyable and convenient for their inhabitants. To do this, interior designers must use their knowledge of accessibility standards, safety requirements and human behavioral tendencies. More specific knowledge of the type of people who will be interacting with a particular space will help interior designers create a perfect harmony between humans and buildings. This can be done through aesthetic elements included in a home, office or other type of building, ceiling heights, flooring types, colors, textures and much more.

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Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Texas

In the state of Texas, the interior design profession is regulated through the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE). This board requires that interior designers sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam before registering with the state. Once you have successfully completed this exam, you will need to submit an application for registration with the TBAE, along with a $100 application fee. Additionally, the TBAE requires all applicants to undergo a criminal history check before becoming registered with the state.

Each year, you will be required to renew registration with the state by submitting a $105 renewal fee and completing at least 12 hours of continuing education. The TBAE provides an online list of all the possible ways to earn your continuing education hours.

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Professional interior design organizations prefer that their members have a bachelor’s degree in interior design or related field. Which is why it’s important to look into individual schools and their curriculums, as well as what is required for certification within your state. Interior design courses may cover the following topics:

  • Space planning
  • Furniture and architectural history
  • Building codes
  • Technology
  • Color theory
  • Materials and textiles

Earning a master’s degree or completing an internship program will help you distinguish yourself from the competition. Adding further qualifications to your resume in addition to national certification will boost your credibility, allowing employers and clients alike to develop a deeper level of confidence in your skillset and expertise.

Interior Design Schools in Texas

Enrolling in a CIDA accredited program is a great way to jumpstart your career in this field. Each interior design program below is CIDA(Council for Interior Design Accreditation) accredited and will lay the foundation for you to successfully complete the National Council for Interior Design Qualification examination. Interior design students have the following educational options available to them.

  • Abilene Christian University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design, which will take four years to complete. Students are expected to complete an internship for credit after finishing their junior year, and tuition and fees are currently about $35,000 per year.
  • The Art Institute of Austin offers students a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design. The program can be completed in as little as 45 months. Tuition and fees are currently about $88,000 per year, with books and supplies totaling an additional $3,000.
  • Texas Christian University is located in the city of Forth Worth and offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design. This is a four year program, and students will be required to complete an internship before graduating. Tuition and fees are currently about $47,000 per year.

National Certification for Interior Designers in Texas

To earn NCIDQ certification, you must go through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). Eligibility requirements to sit for this exam include a bachelor’s degree along with two years of work experience as an interior designer. Alternative options for eligibility include completion of a degree program that took less than four years of study, along with three-to-four years of work experience within the trade.

The first step to earning NCIDQ certification is to pay a $225 application fee. Next, you will need to register for each section of the exam individually. The exam sections include the following:

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

The IDFX portion requires a registration fee of $295, the IPDX carries a registration fee of $350, and the PRAC will require a registration fee of $455. You will receive NCIDQ certification when you have successfully completed all three sections of the exam process. To maintain this certification, you will also need to pay an annual fee of $75.

Those who have recently graduated a bachelor’s or master’s degree program, or those who are in the last year of a degree program and have not yet had the opportunity to fulfill the work experience requirements needed in order to earn certification, will be allowed to sit for the IDFX portion of the exam only. This requires a $95 application fee as well as the registration fee of $295. To earn NCIDQ certification, you will need to return to complete the IDPX and PRAC portions of the exam when you have fulfilled work experience requirements.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) expects to see a 14 percent expansion in the job market for interior designers in Texas during the 10-year period between 2020 and 2030. Their data show that, in 2020, there were 7,200 interior designers working in this state, and this number is expected to jump to 8,190 by 2030.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) presented data in 2021 that indicated interior designers in Texas earned an average of $27.80 per hour, or $57,830 per year. The top 10 percent of interior designers working in this state earned $84,630 during the same year.

Working as an Interior Designer in Texas

Texas cities like Bellaire, Houston and Alief are where some of the highest paid interior designers in this state can be found working.

Interior designers will be employed at a professional practice such as architecture firms, kitchen and bath retailers, home furnishing retailers and more. If you enjoy using your critical thinking skills to create spaces that are innovative, and using your creativity to design spaces that are aesthetically pleasing, you may want to consider getting started as an interior designer 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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