Interior design is quite an attractive career. It’s one of the few careers whose professionals genuinely enjoy. Additionally, interior design jobs are typically high paying. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for interior designers is $56,400 per year.
Other appealing aspects of interior design as a career include the positive job and salaries outlook. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that interior designer salaries will rise 4% between now and 2028.
Unfortunately, like other industries, the best interior designers are also highly educated. Indeed, you can not hold some positions in interior design until you attain specific education qualifications. Remember that salaries also depend a lot on educational qualifications. While entry-level interior designers can only look forward to about $30k/year, experienced and highly educated designers earn well over $100k/year.
Here’s a summary of the interior design jobs an individual can hold depending on their level of education.
An Associate Degree; Salary $32,000 to $60,000
An associate degree in interior design prepares students to enter the field. Most programs take two years, though a few can take two and a half or three years. Nearly all programs require students to complete 60 credits and cover a mix of general education and interior design topics.
Upon graduating with an associate degree, the interior designer can assume assistant roles and other positions at design firms. However, they are typically resigned to positions that require more innate talent than formal education. Indeed, they can’t be certified as interior designers. The three main roles you can look forward to with the associate degree are;
- Drafter: Drafters work side-by-side with architects and engineers to convert their designs into technical drawings using computer software.
- Woodworker: Woodworkers craft unique pieces of furniture, cabinets, and architectural details to client specifications.
- Construction and building inspector: Construction and building inspectors conduct inspections to verify that all structures meet zoning regulations and zoning codes.
Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design; Salary $56,040 to $95,260
Once you earn a bachelor’s degree in interior design, you can apply for an interior design license, which allows you to work officially as an interior designer. The Bachelor’s program trains the learner on design elements, built environment, and visual communication. Learners also learn materials and applications, sustainable environments, and color theory.
Upon completion of the program and earning an interior design license, you can take up various roles, including;
- Interior designer: Interior designers are professionals who create indoor spaces in line with client specifications.
- Architecture roles: An architect creates plans and designs for houses, skyscrapers, and other structures.
- Industrial designer: Industrial designers design concepts for projects such as appliances, toys, cars, and other consumer goods.
- Construction manager: This may come as a surprise, but yes, an interior designer can also work as a construction manager on residential, commercial, and industrial sites.
Master’s Degree in Interior Design; Salary $63,290 to $144,830
If you’d like to hold a managerial position in interior design, you must get past the Bachelor’s level and attain a Master’s in the field. A Master’s degree in interior design equips the individual with the knowledge and credentials needed to lead other team members.
Individuals with a Master’s degree in interior design can also look forward to endless job opportunities, even in fields unrelated to interior design. Better still, the pay rate also increases when you have a Master’s degree. Common positions held by Master of Arts in Interior Design graduates include;
- Interior design director: Interior design directs work at the apex of interior design firms, where they oversee designers and consult on projects.
- Civil engineer: A civil engineer provides public and private infrastructure. They commonly deal with water systems, bridges, dams, airports, roads, and tunnels, to name just a few.
- Project manager: Project managers oversee teams of other professionals and are primarily tasked with ensuring the project is delivered on time.
Doctorate in Interior Design; Salary $60 to $155,000
Doctoral programs in interior design provide the highest level of education available. Individuals who pursue doctoral education typically work in research, post-secondary teaching, and advanced organizational roles.
Many doctoral programs take three to five years to complete on a full-time basis and may take over seven years when studying part-time. The three potential career paths once you receive a Ph.D. in interior design are;
- Interior design professor: A professor in interior design works at colleges and universities educating aspiring interior designers.
- Interior design researcher: Researches in the interior design industry study data to predict trends.
- CEO: Finally, a Ph.D. in interior design also qualifies you to work as a chief executive officer in various sectors within and outside interior design.
As you can see, your position in the interior design hierarchy hinges on your education level. Therefore, if you want a higher ranking, you must get advanced degrees.