As a new graduate of one of the many fine interior design schools you have to choose from today, you can elect to go to work for a company or you may wish to go into business for yourself. Both are options that often sound attractive to design-minded students and even if you choose to begin your career by gaining experience working for an established interior design firm, you can choose to later take your knowledge and translate that into starting and running your own business. The good news is that, whichever route you take, the prognosis in terms of career stability and growth for interior designers remains strong, even in this continuingly sluggish and lackluster economy.
Each year the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks a variety of popular professions and ranks them, according to stability and growth prognosis. The BLS states that interior design professionals will enjoy a career percentage growth of 19 percent over the next decade, which keeps pace with the national average. In that time, the Bureau estimates that nearly 11,000 new interior design jobs will be added to the market nationwide. The median hourly wage will be just over $22 per hour, which translates in terms of a full-time salary into just over $46,000 per year. This is simply an estimate, of course, and talented interior design professionals, especially those who are skilled at networking and sales, can expect to earn at an unlimited potential.
Why is This?
There are different factors which can contribute to how any individual interior designer’s career path progresses – or doesn’t. In addition to developing strong sales, business, networking and advertising skills, interior design professionals who live in areas with a higher demand for their services may have an advantage of their counterparts. Conversely, however, in areas where there is a higher demand for the skills of interior designers, there also tends to be a higher grade of competition for available jobs. The good news here is that there are a number of different industries where interior designers can find a career home. Some interior designers will go to work in a corporate setting, working for a larger architecture, engineering, design, construction, contracting, building, retail, craftsperson or other type of firm. There are numerous markets where the skills of a gifted interior designer are warmly welcomed and needed.
Some interior designers also will choose a specialization early on in their careers; some may prefer to specialize in home design or renovation, while others may elect to go the corporate route by contracting their services out to larger hotel or business chains to do all of the interior design for a number of fairly uniform facilities. The route you take will depend on the opportunities in your geographic area, your skill set, your career preferences and aspirations, your existing network, etc.
Be Wary, Though
One drawback to becoming an interior designer based upon the BLS statistics is that there is no way to determine for sure how many hours per week will be required to earn a reasonable median salary for your needs. The BLS notes do indicate that it is often necessary for interior design professionals to work evenings or weekends (or both), as well as to adjust their work hours and schedules to the needs of their clients. Especially for corporate interior designers, but for any interior designer as well, there can be a fair amount of travel time required, since it is nearly impossible to do the job required without being able to see the space in person.
Factoring all of this in, however, the number of students who are entering the field of interior design is stable and strong, as is the overall career prognosis. Interior design is a creative, dynamic, rewarding field where you can expect every day to be different and you have the opportunity to meet (and connect) with people in from all different walks of life during the course of each day. By incorporating both left and right brain skill sets, you can achieve a fulfilling balance in your work life, drawing on both your visual-spatial and analytic skills to problem solve solutions for even the most difficult spaces, creating satisfied customers and unique interior decor you can be proud of.
As a young girl, Beth Mason enjoyed “remodeling” her grandmother’s house every summer when she visited. She currently works as an interior designer.