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Become A Design Specialist

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Working As A Design Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Deal with People

  • $72,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Design Specialist Do

Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful by determining space requirements and selecting decorative items, such as colors, lighting, and materials. They read blueprints and must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations, as well as universal accessibility standards.

Duties

Interior designers typically do the following:

  • Search for and bid on new projects
  • Determine the client’s goals and requirements for the project
  • Consider how the space will be used and how people will move through the space
  • Sketch preliminary design plans, including electrical and partition layouts
  • Specify materials and furnishings, such as lighting, furniture, wall finishes, flooring, and plumbing fixtures
  • Create a timeline for the interior design project and estimate project costs
  • Place orders for materials and oversee the installation of the design elements
  • Conduct the construction administration of the project and coordinate with general building contractors to implement the plans and specifications to build the project
  • Visit the site after the project is complete, to ensure that the client is satisfied

Interior designers work closely with architects, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, and builders to determine how interior spaces will function, look, and be furnished. Interior designers read blueprints and must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations. For more information on structural engineers, see the profile on civil engineers. For more information on builders, see the profile on construction laborers and helpers.

Although some sketches or drawings may be freehand, most interior designers use computer-aided design (CAD) software for the majority of their drawings. Throughout the design process, interior designers often will use building information modeling (BIM) software to create three-dimensional visualizations that include construction elements such as walls or roofs.

Many designers specialize in a particular type of building, such as homes, hospitals, or hotels; a specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens; or a specific style. Some designers work for home-furnishings stores, providing design services to help customers choose materials and furnishings.

Some interior designers produce designs, plans, and drawings for construction and installation. These may include construction and demolition plans, electrical layouts, and plans needed for building permits. Interior designers may draft the preliminary design into documents that could be as simple as sketches or as inclusive as construction documents, with schedules and attachments.

The following are examples of types of interior designers:

Healthcare designers use the evidence-design process in designing and renovating healthcare centers, clinics, doctors’ offices, hospitals, and residential care facilities. They specialize in making design decisions based on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients, residents, and the facility.

Sustainable designers use strategies to improve energy and water efficiencies and indoor air quality, and they specify environmentally preferable products, such as bamboo and cork for floors. They may obtain certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. Such certification indicates that a building and its interior space were designed with the use of sustainable concepts.

Universal designers renovate spaces in order to make them more accessible. Often, these designs are used to renovate spaces for elderly people and people with special needs; however, universal designs can benefit anyone. For example, an entranceway without steps may be necessary for someone in a wheelchair, but it is also helpful for someone pushing a baby stroller.

Kitchen and bath designers specialize in kitchens and bathrooms and have expert knowledge of the variety of cabinets, fixtures, appliances, plumbing, and electrical solutions for these rooms.

Corporate designers create interior designs for professional workplaces from small office settings to large-scale corporations within high-rise buildings. They focus on creating spaces that are efficient, functional, and safe for employees. They may incorporate design elements that reflect a company’s brand in their designs.

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How To Become A Design Specialist

Interior designers usually need a bachelor’s degree with a focus on interior design.

Education

A bachelor’s degree is usually required, as are classes in interior design, drawing, and computer-aided design (CAD). A bachelor’s degree in any field is acceptable, and interior design programs are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits about 320 postsecondary colleges, universities, and independent institutes with programs in art and design. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation accredits more than 180 professional-level (bachelor’s or master’s degrees) interior design programs.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association accredits kitchen and bath design specialty programs (certificate, associate’s, and bachelor’s degree levels) in 45 colleges and universities.

Applicants may be required to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability for admission to interior design programs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure requirements vary by state. In some states, only licensed designers may do interior design work. In other states, both licensed and unlicensed designers may do such work; however, only licensed designers may use the title “interior designer.” In still other states, both licensed and unlicensed designers may call themselves interior designers and do interior design work.

In states where laws restrict the use of the title “interior designer,” only those who pass their state-approved exam, most commonly the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam, may call themselves registered interior designers. Qualifications for eligibility to take the NCIDQ exam include a combination of education and experience. For example, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in interior design and 2 years of experience.

California requires a different exam, administered by the California Council for Interior Design Certification (CCIDC). Qualifications for eligibility to take the CCIDC exam include a combination of education and experience.

Voluntary certification in an interior design specialty, such as healthcare interior design, allows designers to demonstrate expertise in a particular area of the occupation. Interior designers often specialize to distinguish the type of design work they do and to promote their expertise. Certifications usually are available through professional and trade associations and are independent from the NCIDQ licensing examination.

Important Qualities

Artistic ability. Interior designers use their sense of style to develop designs that are aesthetically pleasing.

Creativity. Interior designers need to be imaginative in selecting furnishings and fabrics and in creating spaces that serve the client’s needs and fit the client’s lifestyle.

Detail oriented. Interior designers need to be precise in measuring interior spaces and creating drawings, so that it can be used by other workers such as engineers or other designers.

Interpersonal skills. Interior designers need to be able to communicate effectively with clients and others. Much of their time is spent soliciting new clients and new work and collaborating with other designers, engineers, and general building contractors on ongoing projects.

Problem-solving skills. Interior designers must address challenges, such as construction delays and the high cost or sudden unavailability of certain materials, while keeping the project on time and within budget.

Visualization. Interior designers need a strong sense of proportion and visual awareness in order to understand how pieces of a design will fit together to create the intended interior environment.

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Design Specialist Career Paths

Design Specialist
Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Designer Design Engineer Project Manager
Contract Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Designer Project Manager Marketing Manager
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Creative Director Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Design Manager Project Manager
Director Of Project Management
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Design Engineer Senior Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Interior Designer Office Manager Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Interior Designer Store Manager Product Manager
Brand Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Interior Designer Store Manager Production Manager
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Owner Creative Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Electrical Designer Lead Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Store Manager Partner
Founding Partner
7 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Manager Facilities Manager
Director, Facilities & Operations
6 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Piping Designer Project Engineer Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Engineer Architect
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Owner Business Development Director
Director Of Client Relations
8 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Logistics Coordinator Traffic Manager
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Editor Senior Copywriter
Creative Lead
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Design Specialist?

Design Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

49.7%

Female

41.7%

Unknown

8.6%
Ethnicity

White

62.1%

Hispanic or Latino

15.3%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

8.1%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.8%

French

14.6%

Chinese

4.9%

German

4.1%

Mandarin

3.3%

Russian

3.3%

Arabic

3.3%

Japanese

2.4%

Cantonese

1.6%

Carrier

1.6%

Swedish

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Hindi

0.8%

Korean

0.8%

Bulgarian

0.8%

Hawaiian

0.8%

Turkish

0.8%

Filipino

0.8%

Braille

0.8%

Teochew

0.8%
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Design Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.1%

University of Houston

8.6%

Pennsylvania State University

6.6%

Savannah College of Art and Design

6.0%

San Jose State University

4.9%

Michigan State University

4.6%

University of Washington

4.6%

Purdue University

4.6%

Arizona State University

4.3%

Brigham Young University

4.0%

Houston Community College

4.0%

Georgia State University

4.0%

Kent State University

4.0%

University of Texas at San Antonio

3.7%

International Academy of Design and Technology

3.7%

Oklahoma State University

3.7%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

3.7%

Ball State University

3.7%

University of California - Berkeley

3.4%

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

3.4%
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Majors

Graphic Design

15.8%

Business

14.9%

Interior Design

10.1%

Drafting And Design

7.8%

Mechanical Engineering

6.0%

Communication

5.2%

Fine Arts

4.9%

Marketing

4.8%

Computer Science

4.4%

Electrical Engineering

4.2%

Management

3.3%

Education

2.4%

Architecture

2.4%

Psychology

2.3%

Design And Visual Communication

2.2%

English

2.2%

Computer Information Systems

2.0%

Computer Applications

1.8%

Civil Engineering

1.7%

Project Management

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.0%

Other

20.7%

Associate

15.1%

Masters

12.0%

Certificate

4.3%

Doctorate

1.0%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$72,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$43,000
Min 10%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Median 50%
$122,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
Novato, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
3.4 years
How much does a Design Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Design Specialist in the United States is $72,882 per year or $35 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $43,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $122,000.

Real Design Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Film Operations and Design Specialist SEG Holdco, LLC Santa Monica, CA Sep 25, 2016 $210,000
Piping Design Specialist 6 Ch2M Hill Engineers, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 26, 2016 $155,044
Industrial Design Specialist Nokia USA Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Aug 21, 2016 $146,450
Product Design Specialist Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Jun 20, 2016 $138,427
User Experience Design Specialist Sap Labs, LLC Palo Alto, CA Sep 30, 2016 $126,900 -
$215,640
User Experience Design Specialist Successfactors, Inc. South San Francisco, CA Oct 10, 2016 $121,000
Computer Design Specialist-Animation Turtle Rock Studios, Inc. Lake Forest, CA Oct 01, 2015 $118,000
Process Design Specialist Ch2M Hill Engineers Inc. Portland, OR Jun 04, 2015 $114,742
Design Specialist (Mechanical Engineer) Lam Research Corporation Fremont, CA Nov 18, 2016 $110,000
User Experience Design Specialist Sap Labs, LLC Palo Alto, CA Sep 08, 2015 $105,300
Pipeline Design Specialist Technip USA, Inc. Houston, TX Apr 03, 2016 $101,930
Design Specialist (Mechanical Engineer) Lam Research Corporation Fremont, CA Mar 20, 2015 $101,776 -
$117,600
Designer, Yarn Specialist LF Distribution International Inc. New York, NY Apr 29, 2015 $100,173
User Experience Design Specialist Ariba, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 27, 2016 $90,000
User Experience Design Specialist Sap Labs, LLC Palo Alto, CA Feb 09, 2016 $90,000
Structural Design Specialist Technip USA, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 04, 2015 $90,000
Design Specialist for Architectural Projects Oscar Tuazon Studio Los Angeles, CA Sep 01, 2015 $90,000
Designer, Yarn Specialist LF Distribution International Inc. New York, NY Jan 24, 2016 $89,411
User Experience Design Specialist Sap Labs, LLC Palo Alto, CA Sep 08, 2015 $88,200
Solar Project Design Specialist Brooklyn Solarworks, LLC New York, NY Jul 03, 2016 $70,000
Mechanical Design Specialist Terves, Inc. Euclid, OH Aug 09, 2016 $70,000
Designer, Yarn Specialist LF Distribution International, Inc. New York, NY Nov 30, 2016 $68,844
Design Specialist Engineer PDS Tech, Inc. Wichita, KS Feb 11, 2015 $68,515
User Experience Design Specialist Sap Labs, LLC Palo Alto, CA Aug 24, 2016 $68,040 -
$115,740
Press Design Specialist Voith Paper Fabric & Roll Systems Inc. Appleton, WI Sep 18, 2015 $67,579 -
$70,000
Designer, Yarn Specialist LF Distribution International Inc. New York, NY Jan 12, 2015 $67,004
Solar Panel Design Specialist GMC Blue Service Inc. Norcross, GA Sep 11, 2016 $66,477

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Top Skills for A Design Specialist

  1. Product Knowledge
  2. Company Website
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Shared product knowledge with customers while making personal recommendations, and forming professional relationships with customers.
  • Conceptualized new digital communications for pension members and employers and maintained the company website using internal content management system.
  • Provided total customer service and relationship marketing through customer-centered philosophy, leading to 10% increased customer loyalty and company profitability.
  • Redesign and estimating of plant layout and design to accommodate new manufacturing technical processes.
  • Communicate with equipment manufacturers to implement new products into new system designs for achieving designs based on leading technology.

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Top 10 Best States for Design Specialists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Alaska
  3. Delaware
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Texas
  6. Minnesota
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. Arkansas
  10. Ohio
  • (107 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (328 jobs)
  • (722 jobs)
  • (300 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (415 jobs)
  • (43 jobs)
  • (461 jobs)

Top Design Specialist Employers

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