How important is a Master’s in Interior Design? Will people hire me without one?

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The good news is that you do not need a degree at any level to become an interior designer. However, some circumstances can affect the requirement for a college degree – some of which may necessitate a master’s. We will look at some of the situations where a degree is beneficial for your career. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Degree for State License?

If my state requires registration, do I need a master’s degree? According to allArtschools, no states require a license to work in interior design. Some states, including Louisiana, Florida, Nevada, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico require registration or licensure before working unsupervised in a commercial space. Hotels, shopping malls, office buildings, medical facilities, and restaurants qualify as commercial properties. For example, Florida requires interior designers to be registered or licensed to provide services to any non-residential buildings. Common areas of multi-unit dwellings are the exception.

You should check with your state of employment for the current rules and statutes. For example, Texas regulates the professions of architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design. According to the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE), you cannot use the term registered interior designer unless you are registered.

The Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Interior Designers (LSBID) is one of 27 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and eight Canadian provinces that regulate Registered or Licensed Interior Designer titles. Qualifications for the LSBID exam require at least a two-year degree from a program recognized by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Experience is another requirement that varies according to the level of education. Individuals with a master’s (five or more years of study) need one year of experience in the profession.

NCDIQ Examination

If you or an employer requires certification from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, you will need to pass its exam. There is no specific degree mandated to sit for the exam, provided you have the requisite experience. Again, the years increase with an Associate Degree, Certificate, or Diploma – any one of these requires three years of full-time direct supervision. A bachelor’s or master’s degree interior design graduates must have two full years of supervised or sponsored experience. A sponsor or immediate supervisor is a professional who oversees, controls, and monitors the candidate’s work and progress.

Eligibility for the NCDIQ exam also demands a minimum of 60 semester hours or 90 quarter credit hours of interior design courses from an accredited institution. This provision applies to students who selected another major with a minor in design.

Regardless of a state’s requirements, some employers might prefer applicants with a degree in interior design. Candidates with minimal or no experience may have more job opportunities with at least a bachelor’s degree. The larger and more prestigious the designing firm, the greater the possibility of needing a graduate degree. It looks impressive on the company’s directory to display the credentials for each interior designer.

Employers’ Requirements

One way to verify if you need a master’s degree is to explore employment sites, like Indeed or SimplyHired. College degrees plus years of experience are typical. An advanced degree generally requires less experience. One job posting in Austin, Texas, seeks an Interior Designer for a company whose clients purchased a new home. The job involves assisting the homeowner in selecting all interior finishes, including cabinetry, plumbing, lighting, appliances, and more. Applicants with a master’s degree should have 2-4 years of design work.

A job with a home interior design company in North Carolina stipulates that a bachelor’s degree is preferred. Therefore, this opportunity chooses experience over a college or university degree. Another posting in Maryland on Indeed requires applicants to have a bachelor’s degree, more than four years of experience, and AutoCAD proficiency.

Back to the Captioned Question

A master’s degree is not mandatory; however, registration, licensure, or certification depends on state rules and regulations for the profession. Anyone considering an interior design career must have an aptitude for creativity. He/she knows instinctively what colors, lighting, and other elements will enhance a particular setting. Education can expand your talents as a designer and decorator.

Some people express creativity through music, painting, sculpting, baking, flower arranging, or organizing. Interior design is another venue for creativity. If everyone had the same creative flair, there would be no need for interior designers or decorators. Enter the designers, who recommend and demonstrate what colors and furnishings will produce the atmosphere the client visualizes.

Can you find a job without a graduate degree? Absolutely. Even no degree may suffice after taking online courses coupled with the gift of imagination and inspiration.

Additional Resources

Top 50 Highest Paying Master’s Degrees

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Do I Need a Degree to Be an Interior Decorator?

Where Are the Best Paying Jobs With a Degree in Interior Design?

What Is an Interior Designing Degree?

What Degree Do I Need to Become a Lighting Designer?