How to Become an Interior Designer in West Virginia
Successful interior designers will study how buildings, homes and even department stores are constructed from the inside-out.
If you were responsible for designing the next big shoe store, you would need to understand how the most successful shoe retailers are set up, which will allow you to ensure the inside of the establishment is constructed in a way that enables the business to thrive, helping customers feel in the mood to make a purchase as soon as they enter the building. This extensive knowledge will be required no matter the type of space you’re responsible for designing. You will need to understand who the space is being designed for, what they need and what their expectations will be.
Requirements for Becoming an Interior Designer in West Virginia
In West Virginia, interior designers are not required to follow state-mandated regulations in order to practice. There are also no national regulations in place for interior design. You will typically be able to find employment with at least a bachelor’s degree. However, employers may be willing to substitute this degree for experience. For example, some employers will not require any post-secondary education, as long as a candidate has at least four-to-five years of professional experience within the trade. If you have completed a degree which took less than four years of study, you should be sure to gain at least two-to-three years of work experience to become a more appealing candidate to potential employers.
You will maximize your growth potential as an interior designer if you decide to go the extra mile by earning a master’s degree, completing an internship program, or earning national certification. Each of these options will expand your knowledge of the craft, allowing you to list experiences on your resume that will help distinguish you from the competition. Internship, apprenticeship or mentorship opportunities can be found by networking with experienced professionals online or in-person at industry events.
West Virginia Schools for Interior Designers
If you want to take your career seriously, completing a degree program may be the first step in reaching success. Consider one of the training options below:
- University of Charleston offers a Bachelor of Arts in interior design, which can be completed in four years. Tuition is approximately $29,000 per year.
- West Virginia University is located in the city of Morgantown, and offers a Bachelor of Science degree in interior design, which will take four years to complete. Tuition is approximately $9,000 per year for in-state students.
- Penn Foster College allows students to complete an associate’s degree program in interior design. The degree can be completed online in just two years, and tuition is $79 per credit hour. The program consists of 67 credit hours, and the school frequently runs discounts and specials offering significant price drops for tuition.
National Certification for Interior Designers in West Virginia
While earning national certification is not mandatory in this state, it may be appealing to those who are interested in having an official title as a nationally-certified interior designer.
The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certification can only be earned through the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). This organization requires you to have at least a bachelor’s degree, along with two years of work experience under your belt, before sitting for the exam. You will also be eligible to sit for this exam if you have completed a degree program which took less than four years of study, as long as you also have at least three-to-four years of work experience to compliment your degree.
The NCIDQ exam consists of three sections, including the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) and the Practicum Exam (PRAC). A $225 application fee is required before testing, and this fee covers all three sections. Once your application is approved, you will be required to register for each section individually. The IDFX carries a registration fee of $295, the IDPX fee is $350 and the PRAC fee is $455. When you pass all three exam sections, you will receive NCIDQ certification. To maintain certification, you will need to pay an annual fee of $75.
If you are in the last year of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program, or if you have graduated and have not yet earned two years of work experience, the CIDQ will allow you to sit for the IDFX portion of the exam only. This requires a $95 application fee, as well as the $295 registration fee. Upon completion of at least two years of work experience, you will be eligible to return and complete the IDPX and PRAC portions of the exam in order to earn NCIDQ certification.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) data indicate that there will be no change in the job market for interior designers in West Virginia, during the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026. The data show that there were 100 people employed as interior designers in this state during 2016, and by 2026, this number will remain the same.
Interior designers in West Virginia earned an average of $24.25 per hour, or $50,430 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from 2017. The highest paid interior designers working in this state earned $81,300 during the same year.
Working as an Interior Designer in West Virginia
If you could design your own home, would you decide to have floor-to-ceiling windows in your bedroom? Perhaps you would make the bathroom accessible from your bedroom, or include a walk-in closet with multiple built-in storage compartments. As an interior designer, the possibilities are endless, as long as you understand building codes and laws. Safety first!
You will likely earn the highest compensation working as in interior designer in West Virginia cities like Falling Waters, Capon Bridge and Delray, among others.
Interior designers can be found working at architecture firms, home furnishing retailers or interior design studios. This job market is expected to be stable over the coming years, so now is a great time to get started as an interior designer.