How to Become an Interior Designer in Utah

Do you appreciate structure, uniformity, synchronicity and innovation? These are all great concepts to have in mind if you’re interested in building a long-standing, rewarding career as an interior designer. This is because you’ll be responsible for a home or building’s interior aesthetic value, along with its overall functionality. While it is highly encouraged that you use your creativity, it is also important to understand industry techniques and universal accessibility requirements, along with building codes and laws. These tools will help you craft spaces that are cohesive, intuitive and convenient for the people – or even animals – who will be inhabiting those spaces. That’s right – in addition to homes and brick and mortar buildings, interior designers could be responsible for designing zoos, pet shops, or comfortable spaces inside your home for your pet to sleep and play.

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Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Utah

There are no national laws regulating the interior design profession. The Utah Department of Commerce Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing offers an optional Commercial Interior Design Certification. This certification is for interior designers who wish to make structural changes to Utah’s code-regulated commercial buildings. It will allow interior designers to practice in these environments without the supervision or approval of a certified architect. This certification requires successful completion of the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam. Candidates will also need to submit an application along with a $70 application fee and acceptable proof of good moral character. There is a $40 certification renewal fee which occurs every two years. You will also be required to complete a total of 20 hours of continued education, with at least 10 of those hours being dedicated to learning about common health and safety risks in relation to interior design.

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You will be able to find employment in this state with a bachelor’s degree in interior design. If you have a lesser degree, employers may typically prefer that you also have at least two-to-three years of work experience within the trade.

There are various educational opportunities available to those who wish to become an interior designer in Utah. You can pursue a degree program at local colleges and universities, or look into accredited online courses. Those who choose to go this route can expect to learn about some of the following topics:

  • Color and texture
  • Design theory
  • Furniture and architectural history
  • Space planning
  • Materials and textiles
  • Building codes and accessibility standards
  • Lighting

Deciding to complete an internship or apprenticeship, or earning a master’s degree are additional ways to fast-track your success within this industry.

Interior Design Schools in Utah

Enrolling in an interior design program will be key to learning the most important aspects of the trade. Consider if one of the interior design degrees below are right for you:

  • Utah State University is a public university located in the city of Logan. The school offers a Bachelor of Interior Design (BID) degree, which can be completed in four years. Tuition and fees are approximately $7,500 per year.
  • Weber State University is located in the city of Ogden, and offers a Bachelor of Science degree in interior design, which can be completed in four years. Tuition and fees are currently about $7,000 per year.
  • Penn Foster College allows students to complete an associate’s degree program in interior design. The degree can be earned exclusively online in just two years and tuition is currently $79 per credit hour. The program requires completion of 67 credit hours and the school often runs specials offering significant price drops in tuition.

National Certification for Interior Designers in Utah

The NCIDQ exam is given exclusively through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). While this certification is not required to practice in this state, it will be necessary for interior designers who wish to work independently, without the need to consult an architect in order to practice in code-based environments.

To sit for this exam, there is a minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree, along with two years of work experience as an interior designer. Alternatively, the CIDQ will allow you to sit for this exam if you have earned a lesser degree, as long as you also have at least three-to-four years of work experience within the trade.

The NCIDQ exam consists of three sections, which include an Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), an Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) and a Practicum Exam (PRAC). There is a mandatory $225 application fee which must be paid before you begin the exam process. This fee covers all three portions of the exam. Next, you will need to register for each portion of the exam individually. To do this, you’ll need to make 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 have not yet fulfilled work experience requirements, the CIDQ will allow you the opportunity to sit for the IDFX portion of the exam only. To be eligible, you must have graduated a bachelor’s or master’s degree program, or be in the last year of one of these degree programs. To do this, you’ll 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.

Outlook and Salary Expectations

In 2020, the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) released data which stated that there were 1,200 people employed as interior designers in Utah. By 2030, the PMP expects this number will jump to 1,440, indicating a 31 percent increase in the job market during this 10-year period.

On average, interior designers earned $23.29 per hour, or $48,430 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released in 2021. The top 10 percent of interior designers earned an average of $92,620 during the same year.

Working as an Interior Designer in Utah

Utah will see a significant increase in the job market for interior designers in the coming years. If you want to see how quickly you can achieve your dreams in this industry, now is a great time to start.

Interior designers working in Utah will likely earn the highest compensation in cities like Beryl, Brian Head and Cedar City.

You will find employment opportunities at architecture firms, interior design studios, home furnishing retailers and more. You can also choose to specialize in designing specific spaces, like kitchens and bathrooms, or larger buildings, like government or religious institutions. Decide the types of spaces you are most interested in designing to determine what kind of specialization would bring you the most fulfillment as an interior designer.

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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 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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