California Interior Design License Requirements
In order to take the examination, which is administered through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification program, applicants must first complete a total of 6 years of combined education and work experience within the field, with at least two of those years being dedicated to a post-secondary education in the field. In order to maintain this licensure, interior designers must meet certain continuing education requirements.
In most cases, however, you will need to obtain either an associate or bachelor’s degree in interior design or complete a certification program before you will be hired by an interior design company.
How to Get a License
There are numerous two- and three-year certification programs available to choose from, many of which are available online and through brick-and-mortar campuses. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design currently accredits nearly 350 postsecondary art and design programs throughout the United States, most of which offer interior design programs.
Additionally, The Council for Interior Design Accreditation, an authority in interior design education that accredits bachelor’s degree programs, currently accredits over 170 interior design programs throughout the country.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published through the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, it is generally best to obtain a bachelor’s degree in interior design if you wish to obtain an entry-level position within the field.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook goes on to report that those who complete two- or three-year certification programs or associate degree programs generally qualify to work as assistants to interior designers after their education is complete, while those who obtain a bachelor’s degree will generally qualify to enter an apprenticeship program.
In short, the time it takes to become an interior designer differs depending on which education path you choose. An associate degree in interior design takes roughly two years to obtain, while a bachelor’s degree takes about four years. However, in addition to a degree, those seeking certification must also have three to four years of work experience and pass the NCIDQ interior design certification exam.