How to Become an Interior Designer in New York

An interior designer career allows creative individuals to earn a living while exploring their talents and developing new skills.

Education and Training

A great way to get started is by taking a online certification program from a local school:

Search Certified Residential Interior Designer Programs

Get information on Certified Residential Interior Designer programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Why Take an Online Course?

The primary benefit of the course is preparation to obtain certification from the Designer Society of America (DSA).

What Does the Course Teach You?

Curriculums cover topics such as the following:

  • Getting Started in Residential Interior Design
    • Exploring a Career in Residential Interior Design
    • Understanding the basics of residential projects
    • Steps to become a residential interior designer and start your own business
    • Developing skills in design concept creation and floor planning
  • Design Basics and Principles
    • Elements of Design: Materials, Color, Textiles
    • Space Planning
    • Lighting Fundamentals
    • Accents and Accessories
  • History of Styles and Furnishings
    • Part I: Prehistoric Times to the Middle Ages
    • Part II: The Renaissance to the 20th Century
    • Part III: Modernism, Non-European Influences, and Furniture Styles
    • Overall exploration of various design styles and movements throughout history
  • Professional Practice
    • Working as a Residential Interior Designer
    • Understanding industry regulations
    • Putting It All Together: Applying learned principles in real projects

Interior design trade school courses may also have a studio or seminar component where students must create a unique design based on a prompt from their instructor.

How Much Does It Cost?

Anywhere between $2,000 to $3,000 and most decent programs offer financing.

Average Salary Range

Below is some more data from the BLS for the cities and regions in the state.

Area Hourly Annual
Albany-Schenectady-Troy $33.14 $68,940.00
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls $30.77 $64,000.00
Capital/Northern New York $28.96 $60,230.00
Central East New York $28.64 $59,570.00
Kingston $32.33 $67,240.00
New York-Newark-Jersey City $36.41 $75,730.00
Rochester $28.59 $59,470.00
Syracuse $31.95 $66,460.00

Occupation: Interior Designers (SOC Code271025)

New York Requirements

According to the New York Department of Labor, the licensing requirements to become a Certified Interior Designer (CID) are as follows:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must complete a two-year or four-year interior design degree program at a State Education Department-accredited school
  • Must have at least seven years of education or work experience in the interior design profession
  • Must pass a 12.5-hour national licensing exam such as the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam
  • Must submit a licensing application to the New York State Education Department and pay a $377 fee


Job Description

What Do They Do?

Interior designers in NY use their creativity and skill to plan gorgeous decorative looks for homes, offices, hotels, and storefronts. Depending on what the client asks for, an interior designer may update existing layouts to suit current style trends or start from scratch in an unfurnished, undecorated space and create something entirely new.

Additional Tasks

Many interior designers add a unique touch to their projects by including certain handmade items in the layout. For example, they may commission artists to craft sculptures or paintings that put a decorative flair on the overall ensemble. Some interior designers might even hire a carpenter to build a charming table or set of chairs for the space.

Career Outlook

Research from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows little fluctuation in the demand for interior designers over the next decade. Experts predict a possible one-percent shift in the career outlook for this profession, which translates to about 8,200 employment opportunities becoming available each year between 2021 and 2031.

Those looking for interior design jobs in New York and other parts of the U.S. can apply for available positions in their area or open their own offices and studios. If you choose to start an interior design business, having an official certification or being part of an organization like the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) could help you stand out from the competition and draw in more clients.

Search Certified Residential Interior Designer Programs

Get information on Certified Residential Interior Designer programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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