How to Become a Certified Interior Designer

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Interior designers plan and design all types of indoor spaces, including homes, shopping malls, businesses, schools, airports and hotels. They know how lighting, colors, textures and furniture work together to make a functional and aesthetic space. Interior designers must know building and fire codes and how to read blueprints. They must also be able to make a space accessible and friendly for people with disabilities.

Obtain the proper education. Certified interior designers are required to have a minimum of two years postsecondary education.

Obtain qualifying work experience under the supervision of a registered or licensed designer.

Review and verify your state's guidelines for certification and licensing.

Apply to take the licensing exam. After you have at least six years of qualifying work experience and education combined, you are likely eligible to take your licensing exam from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (see Resources).

Study for the exam. Study guides are available through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification.

Register and take the exam. If you pass the application process, you will need to register and pay the fee at least two months before the test. The exam is broken up into three sections and is held in October and April over two days.


Apply early for the exam with the National Council for Interior Design Qualification. Deadlines are about four months before the test.