In my course, the Successful Design Business Academy, I teach new interior designers how to uplevel their businesses, market themselves, land the types of projects they’ve always dreamed of.
But how does one become an interior designer in the first place?
There are many paths you can take and I am not here to tell you one is better than the other. I’ve met accomplished designers who have received zero formal training and those who have university degrees!
The purpose of this blog is to show you your options and allow you to choose which works best for you. I’m here to support you no matter your path 😊
Option #1 Obtain a University Degree
Your first option is to obtain an undergraduate or master’s degree in interior design from an accredited university.
The pros? Accredited interior design programs like this will give you a firm understanding of many different types of interior design such as commercial, residential, healthcare, etc. You will graduate with a portfolio of your student work which will give you instant street cred in the industry, making you an ideal candidate for junior designer positions at mid-sized and larger design firms.
The cons? A two or four-year degree is by far the most expensive and time-consuming path. If you are looking to make a career change later in life, obtaining a degree may not make sense if you need to take care of kiddos and balance your finances. Which brings us to…
Option #2: Complete a Certification Program
An interior design certification program will teach you the essentials in a fraction of the time and cost as a university degree. Not all certification programs are created equal, however, so do your homework! If you can’t find a certification that covers both creative and business essentials, don’t be afraid to supplement with individual courses from a local university.
The pros? A fraction of the time and cost of a university degree. Far easier to work and care for a family while you study. Ideal if you want to open your own design firm right off the bat.
The cons? Most commercial, hospitality, and healthcare interior design firms favor applicants with a university degree. If you’re hoping to break into this part of the industry, find a certification program that is respected in these circles.
Option #3: Go It Alone as a Self-Trained Designer
I know successful, talented, award-winning designers with absolutely ZERO formal training. Some came from adjacent fields like fashion or graphic design while others made a complete career 180. The only thing they have in common is the courage and grit to just go for it.
The pros? No money and time spent on formal training.
The cons? The industry will not welcome you with open arms. As a self-trained designer, you’ll have a very slim chance of being hired by another firm. Instead, self-trained designers tend to go it alone. To make up for your lack of formal creative or business training, seek out mentors in the field to help avoid the many mistakes young creatives can make.
No matter your training, this crazy, ever-changing industry is not for the faint of heart. That’s where I come in. I mentor new interior designers to grow their business and take care of themselves all along the way.
If you’re looking for a mentor, click here to learn more about my course, The Successful Design Business Academy: https://www.successfuldesignbizacademy.com/waitlist