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.
In New York, many aspiring designers take courses at an accredited trade school or college to learn about the ins and outs of the industry.
Those who complete one of these programs can qualify for well-paying interior design jobs in New York.
Education and Training
Interior Design Program
A typical interior design program in NY usually covers basic design principles, including color theory, balance, rhythm, proportion, and scale, as part of its standard curriculum. In addition to learning about these topics, you’ll take classes on:
- The history of interior design
- Commercial, residential, and sustainable design
- Materials and textiles
- Architectural drafting
Those hoping to open their own design studios can take business and marketing classes to learn how to launch and manage their small business. Communication courses are also great for developing the skills you’ll need to discuss project details with clients and colleagues.
You might even consider taking accounting and finance classes to establish effective budgeting habits.
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.
Project specifications may include using a particular design style, color scheme, or decor item while sticking to a pre-determined budget. Earning a certain score on this final project often determines whether you obtain your degree.
New York Interior Designer Requirements
An official license or certification is optional for interior designers in NY. Most employers in this field simply expect applicants to have a certificate, degree, or an impressive portfolio showcasing their unique projects. However, getting an interior designer credential could make it easier to get some of the most sought-after jobs in the industry.
Certified Interior Designer License
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
How Much Can You Make?
Although the average interior design salary in New York State is about $75,017 per year, wages vary across different regions. Take a look at the list below to see the estimated annual earnings for interior designers in various parts of New York.
- New York City $77,172
- Long Island $72,958
- Syracuse $74,899
- Ithaca $69,074
- Yonkers $69,628
- Albany $74,446
New York interior designers with more experience and credentials often work with high-profile clients, world-renowned design companies, and even popular magazines and television networks. At this level, interior designers may earn upwards of $90k per year or more.
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.
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.
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.