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Become An Interior Designer/Project Manager

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Working As An Interior Designer/Project Manager

  • 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

  • $77,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Interior Designer/Project Manager 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 An Interior Designer/Project Manager

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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Average Length of Employment
Principal Designer 4.9 years
Project Manager 3.5 years
Designer 3.1 years
Project Designer 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Interior Designer/Project Manager
Designer 3.7%
Internship 3.6%
Architect 3.3%
Top Careers After Interior Designer/Project Manager
Owner 3.8%
Designer 2.8%
Architect 2.5%
Principal 2.2%
Consultant 1.9%

Do you work as an Interior Designer/Project Manager?

Average Yearly Salary
$77,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$47,000
Min 10%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$127,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
First Tennessee Bank
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
4.1 years
How much does an Interior Designer/Project Manager make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Interior Designer/Project Manager in the United States is $77,559 per year or $37 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $47,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $127,000.

Real Interior Designer/Project Manager Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Project Manager, Interior Design Woods Bagot Architects P.C. San Francisco, CA Jul 02, 2013 $110,000 -
$160,000
Interior Design Project Manager Royal Properties, Inc. Catao, PR Oct 09, 2016 $85,000
Project Manager, Interior Design Evensonbest, LLC Washington, DC Feb 01, 2011 $84,000
Interior Design Project Manager Callison LLC New York, NY Sep 15, 2011 $83,824 -
$95,000
SR. Interior Design Project Manager Callison LLC New York, NY Nov 01, 2011 $83,824 -
$120,000
Interior Designer/Project Manager Urban Constructions Inc. New York, NY Sep 01, 2015 $83,200
Interior Designer/Project Manager Urban Construction Inc. Ann Arbor, MI Feb 09, 2016 $82,300
Interior Designer/Project Manager Urban Construction Inc. New York, NY Feb 09, 2016 $82,300
Project Interior Design Manager Inner Structures Incorporated Islandia, NY Oct 04, 2012 $80,392
Project Interior Design Manager Inner Structures Incorporated New York, NY Oct 30, 2012 $80,392
Project Interior Design Manager Inner Structures Incorporated Islandia, NY Aug 01, 2012 $80,392
Interior Design Project Manager Adam D. Tihany International New York, NY May 07, 2015 $77,750
Interior Designer/Project Manager Design Bureaux Inc. New York, NY May 16, 2014 $77,000
Manager for Interior Design Marketing Projects Toma Design Group Inc. Miami Beach, FL Apr 16, 2008 $70,000
Interior Design Project Manager Superior Marine Ways, Inc. South Point, OH Mar 08, 2010 $64,000
Interior Designer/Project Manager Heather Hilliard LLC San Francisco, CA Aug 28, 2014 $63,000
Licensed Interior Design Project Manager Hayslip Design Associates, Inc. Dallas, TX Oct 01, 2011 $56,000
Licensed Interior Design Project Manager Hayslip Design Associates, Inc. Dallas, TX Jan 13, 2012 $56,000
Manager of Interior Design YT Resolution Services, LLC. New York, NY Jan 16, 2015 $54,101

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Top Skills for An Interior Designer/Project Manager

  1. Office Furniture
  2. Graphic Design
  3. New Construction
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Sole interior designer at an office furniture dealership that served a variety of corporate and institutional clients.
  • Manage a staff of people, including contractors, graphic designers, clients and vendors in coordinating scheduling and critical tasks.
  • Worked on new construction, remodeled and leased properties for Commercial, Residential and Hospitality projects.
  • Provided space planning and interior design while identifying emerging furniture trends.
  • Awarded contracts to architectural firms, general contractors and furniture dealerships.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Interior Designer/Project Managers

  1. Delaware
  2. New Jersey
  3. New York
  4. Alaska
  5. Rhode Island
  6. North Carolina
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Connecticut
  9. Georgia
  10. California
  • (62 jobs)
  • (465 jobs)
  • (914 jobs)
  • (29 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)
  • (621 jobs)
  • (626 jobs)
  • (186 jobs)
  • (709 jobs)
  • (2,239 jobs)

Interior Designer/Project Manager Demographics

Gender

Female

73.2%

Male

17.7%

Unknown

9.1%
Ethnicity

White

59.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.4%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

8.7%

Unknown

4.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

38.2%

Italian

18.2%

French

14.5%

Russian

5.5%

Arabic

5.5%

German

3.6%

Mandarin

3.6%

Portuguese

1.8%

Finnish

1.8%

Chinese

1.8%

Venetian

1.8%

Hawaiian

1.8%

Korean

1.8%
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Interior Designer/Project Manager Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

10.6%

Parsons the New School for Design

7.1%

New York School of Interior Design

7.1%

Harrington College of Design

6.1%

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

5.1%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

5.1%

Savannah College of Art and Design

5.1%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

5.1%

Academy of Art University

4.5%

Michigan State University

4.5%

Kansas State University

4.5%

Florida International University

4.5%

Suffolk University

4.5%

Mississippi State University

4.5%

Drexel University

4.0%

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

3.5%

Texas Tech University

3.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.5%

Florida State University

3.5%

Eastern Michigan University

3.5%
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Majors

Interior Design

60.1%

Interior Architecture

7.1%

Business

6.6%

Architecture

6.2%

Fine Arts

4.3%

Graphic Design

3.2%

Environmental Design

2.0%

Project Management

1.7%

Liberal Arts

1.2%

Management

1.0%

Photography

0.9%

Elementary Education

0.8%

Drafting And Design

0.7%

Urban Planning

0.7%

Marketing

0.7%

Apparel And Textiles

0.6%

Communication

0.6%

Legal Support Services

0.6%

Real Estate

0.6%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

0.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

56.8%

Masters

14.5%

Other

14.4%

Associate

10.1%

Certificate

3.1%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.2%

License

0.1%
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