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Interior Designer Career and Salary

From family dwellings to retail stores and office complexes to skyscrapers, interior designers shape the way we spend our time indoors. They work with clients to help articulate their vision and create plans to arrange all types of indoor spaces for comfort, functionality and safety.

Here are a few key duties that future interior designers can expect to perform:

Interior Decorating
  • Considering how certain spaces may best be occupied by people and objects
  • Sketching design ideas according to the goals of the client and the realities of the space
  • Determining appropriate furniture, lighting, flooring, wall finishes and plumbing fixtures
  • Using computer applications to condense multiple design ideas into a final plan

Interior designers typically work in indoor offices or at job sites. They often interact closely with engineers, architects and builders to ensure that their design objectives are consistent with those of the rest of the structure.

Interior designer job outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job opportunities for interior designers are projected to increase 13 percent between 2012 and 2022. Rising demand for specialized design services firms and overall growth in the construction industry are cited as primary drivers of job growth in the field. Many of the new jobs are expected to emerge in higher-income areas of the country.

Interior design career salary

Also according to the BLS, the nationwide median annual salary paid to interior designers in May 2013 was $48,500. Here's a breakdown of the mean salary figures reported by several industries for interior designers:

  • Architectural, engineering and related services: $59,480
  • Merchant wholesalers, durable goods: $57,190
  • Specialized design services: $54,940
  • Residential construction: $53,140
  • Furniture stores: $44,240
CareerProjected Employment ChangeProjected 2012-2022 Growth
Interior Designers22003.8
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Salaries also tend to vary by region. The BLS reports that interior designers in Washington, D.C., earn the highest average wages, taking home a mean annual amount of $78,390 in 2013.

Interior designer career statistics

One hundred percent of interior designers surveyed by the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) had attended some college before entering their career field. Associate degrees were held by 22 percent of respondents, while the remaining 78 percent had earned at least a bachelor's degree.

Here are some figures on the industries that employed the highest percentages of working interior designers in 2013, according to the BLS:

  • Specialized design services: 14.03 percent
  • Architectural, engineering and related services: .66 percent
  • Furniture stores: 1.94 percent
  • Merchant wholesalers, durable goods: 2.22 percent
  • Construction: .32 percent

The BLS also reports that 25 percent of interior designers -- nearly 14,000 workers -- were self-employed in 2012.

Those who are considering a career as an interior designer can learn more about trade and technical schools offering programs in interior design here on RWM.com.

Sources:

Interior Designers, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes271025.htm

Interior Designers, Occupational Information Network, U.S. Department of Labor, www.onetonline.org/link/summary/27-1025.00

Interior Designers, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/interior-designers.htm

Interior Designer Schools
 
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