How to Become an Interior Designer in Wisconsin
When working to design the inside of a home, office, storefront or other type of building, it is important to be knowledgeable about safety requirements, behavioral tendencies of people and universal standards of accessibility. This information allows interior designers to create spaces that can be safely enjoyed by those who will be interacting with the space.
Interior designers may be responsible for deciding everything from color schemes for a particular room in a home to the placement of windows, walls and doors inside a government or religious institution, for example.
Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in Wisconsin
There have been no national laws set in place to regulate the interior design profession. Instead, states decide on their own if they would like to enforce legislation requiring interior designers to meet specific standards before practicing.
In Wisconsin, this profession is regulated by the State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). Before becoming registered with the state, applicants are required to complete a combination of six years of education and experience within the craft. It is important to note that these education and experience requirements will be fulfilled before sitting for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam, which is another requirement to register as an interior designer in this state.
Once you have met these requirements, you will need to fill out an application for registration. The initial application fee is $75 and the renewal fee is $107 every two years. Registrants are also required to complete at least nine hours of continuing education every two years. The DSPS offers an online list of the ways you can earn continuing education hours.
In addition to following the state’s requirements, you can choose to complete a master’s degree program, as well as an internship or apprenticeship program in interior design. Any of these options will help further exemplify your ambition to succeed, your dedication to the craft and your level of qualification to take on high levels of responsibility within the trade.
Wisconsin Schools for Interior Designers
Each school listed below is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), a nationally-recognized organization that sets standards for education in interior design.
- University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Architecture. The degree will require four years of study, and tuition is currently about $8,000 per year.
- Mount Mary University is an all-female college located in the city of Milwaukee. The school offers a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design, which can be completed in four years. Students will be required to complete an internship before graduating. Tuition and fees are currently about $15,000 per year.
- University of Wisconsin – Madison allows students to earn a Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture with four years of study. Tuition and fees are currently about $11,000 per year.
National Certification for Interior Designers in Wisconsin
The NCIDQ exam is offered through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). Eligibility requirements include a bachelor’s degree along with two years of work experience within the trade. Alternatively, you may sit for this exam if you’ve completed a lesser degree along with three-to-four years of work experience as an interior designer
To sit for this exam, you will first need to pay a $225 application fee. When your application has been approved, you will need to register for each section of the exam individually. The exam consists of three sections. The Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX) section carries a $295 registration fee, the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) section carries a registration fee of $350, and the Practicum Exam (PRAC) section has a $455 registration fee. Passing all three parts will allow you to receive NCIDQ certification. To maintain this certification, you are required to pay an annual fee of $75.
If you meet educational requirements but have yet to fulfill work experience requirements, you may opt to sit for the IDFX on its own. This option is also available to you if you are in the last year of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program. To take this portion of the exam only, you will need to pay a $95 application fee, as well as the $295 registration fee. You will not be able to earn NCIDQ certification however, until you fulfill work experience requirements and also complete the IDPX and PRAC portions of the exam.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
The Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) reports that there will be a 9.2 percent increase in the number of interior designers working in Wisconsin during the 10-year period from 2016 to 2026. Their data show that there were 1,290 people employed as interior designers in Wisconsin during 2016. By 2026, the PMP expects there to be 1,410 interior designers working in this state.
Interior designers working in Wisconsin earned an average of $21.37 per hour in 2017, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. This is equivalent to $44,450 per year. According to the same data, the highest paid interior designers in this state earned $70,150 during the same year.
Working as an Interior Designer in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a great state to launch your career as an interior designer, as the job market will continue to expand in the coming years. The job market for interior designers in this state is expected to exceed the national growth rate for this career field during the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS.
Cities like Hammond, Hudson and New Richmond, among others, are where some of the highest paid interior designers in this state can be found working.
You can expect to find employment at construction firms, home furnishing retailers, interior design studios or architecture firms. Freelancing is also a possibility for interior designers who prefer to work solely on the projects of their choosing. Begin by defining your unique design flair, sharpening your skills and deepening your personal knowledge of the industry. Before you know it, you will have established a rewarding and successful career as an interior designer.