If you're curious about a career in the interior design industry, you might be wondering what steps you need to take to get from your dreams to your goals. Here are our top things to know about a career in design without going to an accredited interior design school.
Because of the wide range of jobs available in design, there is no single linear path from hobbyist to professional. Whether you're interested in technical architect design, interior styling, commercial interior design, or residential interior design, understanding the qualifications needed for each area to reach your goals is vital.
If you're curious about what it takes to have a career in design, the first thing you should identify is what interests you most in the field. For example, the qualifications needed to design a hospital or a school are different from those required to decorate a residential space.
While there are facets of design that require you to have a certification, there is no reason you shouldn't pursue a career in interior design just because you didn't attend design school or obtain a certificate.
To become an accredited interior design professional, studying design in college and/or attending design school and taking the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam are required in some states. However, contrary to popular belief, there are also plenty of careers in interior design that you can pursue without a degree or accreditation. Chances are that some of your favorite interior designers and decorators are self-taught!
While there are facets of design that require you to have a certification, there are also plenty of careers in interior design that you can pursue without a degree or accreditation.
Here are a few reasons that you don't need to go to an accredited interior design school to have a design career:
Learning by doing is vital in any career path, especially as hands-on as interior design. If you're interested in residential interior design, working with clients in real time is one of the best ways to develop and refine your skill set.
While attending school or taking design courses can give you a strong foundation and confidence to work with clients, you can still have a successful design career without attending school. Many successful residential interior designers did not go to an accredited interior design school or obtain any formal design training before starting their firms.
If your goal is to start your own design business or firm, attending design school or becoming accredited is not required. Some of the essential skills you need to run a business — accounting, project management, and people management are not covered in the curriculum of many design schools.
If your goal is to work under a principal interior designer or for an interior design firm, you might be surprised to learn that not all firms require accreditation. While some jobs may require technical skills and abilities often learned in school, you do not need to attend school to learn how to master these skills.
In today's digital world, countless resources are available for self-taught interior designers — from online interior design courses taught by professional interior designers to easy-to-use software tooling. Spoak’s online tooling, interior design classes, and business management resources were explicitly built for current or aspiring interior designers hoping to hone their craft and manage their projects seamlessly in one place.
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