Home renovation and design shows have been increasing in popularity over the past several years. Our television airwaves are jam-packed with them. We all love watching those shows and critiquing the work of the interior designers and decorators, don’t we? Many of us have even thought, “I could do that.” Then there are those who take it a step further and seriously contemplate going to school for an interior design certificate.

It is important to note that while often interchangeably used, there is a definite distinction between an interior designer and an interior decorator. An interior decorator specializes in the superficial aspects of a room to make it aesthetically pleasing, such as wall coverings, paint colors, decorative elements, etc.

There is no formal training required to become an interior decorator. To receive your interior design certificate, on the other hand, requires post-secondary education from an accredited school and you must be licensed to practice interior design. While a designer still focuses on aesthetics, their main objective is to focus on the functionality of the space they are working on. Designers have an understanding of safety and building codes. They often work with architects and contractors to make sure that designs are safe, meet structural requirements, and are keeping with the client’s needs. The cardinal rule of interior design is to ensure that form meets functionality.

So now that you’ve decided getting your interior design certificate is for you, what’s next? The first step is to determine if you possess the skillset necessary to become a designer. Are you creative as well as technical? Do you have a knack for spatial planning, eye for detail, and flair for picking aesthetic color palettes? If this sounds like you, then the next step will be determining the degree you’ll need to obtain and choosing a school.

There are two types of interior design degrees, associate and bachelor’s. An associate’s degree in interior design is a two-year program. A graduate of an associate’s program is eligible to work in entry-level positions such as an assistant to an interior designer. For those who wish to become licensed interior designers, a bachelor’s degree in interior design is recommended. A bachelor’s degree in interior design is a four-year program that will offer the graduate the most job opportunities within the field. A combination of education and work experience is required for certification. Certification by the NCDIQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) is necessary prior to licensing.

There are many things to take into consideration when choosing a school to receive your interior design certificate. Perhaps one of the most important considerations, next to choosing the desired level of education, is choosing a school that is accredited. An accredited school ensures that you will meet the necessary requirements to advance in your career. Other important factors you will want to consider are location and affordability. With all the options in today’s society, there is no doubt you can find a school that will fit your needs and budget.

The decision to become an interior designer is a challenging and rewarding one. By being armed with the knowledge it takes to make those first steps and with appropriate planning, you are well on your way to making your journey into interior design a successful one.


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