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Career Services:
What Can I Do With This Major?
Additional Resources: PDF Version     Additional Links Interior Design

What can I do with this degree?
INTERIOR DESIGN

AREAS
Commercial Design Including:
     Offices
     Retail
     Healthcare
          Hospitals and clinics
          Medical offices
     Hospitality
          Restaurants
          Bars and Clubs
          Hotels and Motels
          Resorts
          Theaters
Civic
     Airports
     Government Facilities
Residential Design
     Single-Family Houses
     Apartments
     Condominiums
In-store Design
Design Specialties Including:
     Bath
     Kitchen
     Lighting
     Ergonomic Design
     Green Design
Renovations
Sales/Marketing
Education

EMPLOYERS
Design firms
Architecture firms
Design divisions of corporations/institutions
Carpet manufacturers
Furniture and home stores
Federal government departments
Colleges and universities
Self-employed

STRATEGIES
Create a portfolio of your work while in school.  Complete an internship to gain relevant experience.  After finishing a design degree and gaining required experience, prepare to take the qualifying exam administered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification.  Learn to understand both the artistic, creative side and the business, technical side of design to assure success in the field.  Become familiar with Computer Aided Design (CAD) software.  Develop strong communication skills which are important when interacting with clients and writing work proposals.  Understand the importance of learning to listen attentively to others and providing excellent customer service. 
Learn to work well with different types of people including clients, architects, contractors and other service providers.  Gain experience working in a fast-paced environment and meeting deadlines.  Plan to work on multiple projects at a time.
Join relevant student organizations and seek leadership roles. Become a student member of the American Society of Interior Designers.  Conduct informational interviews with interior designers in a variety of settings to learn about particular areas of interest.  Build a network of contacts.  Interior designers are four times as likely to be self-employed than people in other specialty professions.  Most others work in small firms of 1 to 5 employees. (BLS)

AREAS RELATED TO INTERIOR DESIGN
Those with training in interior design may pursue the following career fields if they have the right combination of experiences. Some areas may require additional training or graduate degrees.  If these areas interest you, take relevant coursework, complete internships, and get involved in related activities to prepare for the fields.  For example, someone trained in interior design who wants to work for a design publication should develop strong writing skills, consider minoring in journalism or English, work for a campus or community newspaper, etc.

Some related fields are:
     Set design for stage and screen
     Lighting design
     Furniture design
     Product development
     Journalism, e.g. design magazines
     Illustration/rendering
     Computer rendering
     Facility management
     Historic preservation

 

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  (2007) 
UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA Employer