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Do Interior Designers Need to Be Certified?

By Michelle Ecker on September 08, 2020

Do Interior Designers Need to Be Certified?

If you want to pursue an interior design career, you should research what education, training or certifications you are required to receive before technically calling yourself a professional interior designer. 

Education requirements for interior designers  

Legally, there are not any training prerequisites required for interior designers who want to start working with clientsHowever, if you do not have any prior knowledge or experience in interior design or interior decorating, it would be wise to receive some type of training, or to build a beginner’s interior design portfolio before you start advertising yourself as a professional. If this is something you still need to do, you can look for an affordable interior design course online or take classes locally wherever you can find in-person interior design training in your area 

Can I call myself a certified interior designer? 

If you are interested in not just working as an interior design professional, but calling yourself a “Certified Interior Designer,” then you should pursue a certification, of which there are several credible options available 

If this is a route you are looking to take professionally, the state you reside in may require you to receive a formal interior design licensure by passing a certification exam. You can research state licensing requirements for interior designers if you want to learn more about the rules specific to your area 

Many online interior design classes such as NYIAD’s are designed specifically to prepare you for certification exams like these, so the process of preparing to pass your exam should be straightforward and user-friendly.  

 How to get certified in interior design 

If you’re ready to add certification to your interior design resume, there are a few simple steps that you can follow to do so.  

  1. Prepare for your exam. NYIAD's Interior Design Course is certified by the Designer Society of America, which means that NYIAD Interior Design Students and Graduates are eligible for certification through the DSA's Residential Interior Design Qualification Certification (RIDQC), and the curriculum was created in order to help NYIAD students prepare for and pass this industry-recognize certification exam. NYIAD students complete reading assignments and watch HD video lectures, design tours and tutorials. Students also complete interactive projects such as room condition checklists or client lifestyle questionnaires. Towards the end of the program, design students create mock designs of their own, starting with the basics of room sketching. By the end of the course, NYIAD students graduate with a small beginners’ portfolio of interior design projects they can use with their first clients. The course is entirely online and self-paced, and students are given up to 2 years to complete the program- but most students finish in somewhere between 6-8 months.  
  2. Purchase and schedule your examIf you enroll in NYIAD’s interior design course, at the time of your enrollment you can add on the option to take the RIDQC exam as well, and you will receive a discount on your exam cost (the exam typically costs $1,895, but NYIAD students can register for $495 if they are interested in eventually taking a certification exam in addition to taking their NYIAD course). That way, when you finish your NYIAD course, your certification exam is already paid for, and you can coordinate with your NYIAD mentor, who can help you schedule your exam date (pre COVID-19, these exams took place in person, but pending safety guidelines, some states have switched to an online, proctored exam format).  
  3. Pass your exam. Unless you have received prior training, or have personal interior decorating experience, you will very likely need to study independently or receive some type of training in order to sufficiently prepare to pass an exam like this, the same way a lawyer would need to study or attend school before being prepared to pass the BAR. In order to technically call yourself a certified interior designer, you will need to receive a passing grade on your certification exam.  

Pursue your interior design career with NYIAD  

If you want to start a career as a professional interior designer and you think that NYIAD could be a good fit for your training, you can get started whenever you’re ready to dive in 

Our interior design course is entirely online and self-paced, meaning there are no start dates, class times or project due dates- you make your own schedule from home. You can enroll and get started online or call 1-800-583-1742 to get started over the phone with one of our student services representatives.