How to become a Interior Designer

Interior designers design and supervise the construction or redevelopment of building interiors.

Personal requirements of a Interior Designer

  • Creative and artistic flair
  • Good at problem-solving and lateral thinking
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Good communication skills
  • Aptitude for technical drawing and illustration

Education & Training for a Interior Designer

To become an interior designer you usually have to complete a VET qualification in interior design or interior design and decoration. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in applied design, interior design, interior architecture or spatial design. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Applicants may also be required to attend an interview and submit a folio of recent design work. A number of institutions in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Interior Designer

Interior designers may perform the following tasks:

  • speak to clients and architects to determine clients' needs and intentions, and to ensure safety requirements are met
  • develop designs that are appropriate, functional and aesthetically pleasing
  • prepare working drawings and specifications for interior construction, materials, finishes, space planning, lighting, furnishings and equipment
  • estimate costs of materials, labour and time, and give estimates to clients for approval
  • organise supplies and prepare detailed instructions for tradespeople
  • inspect the work of suppliers and tradespeople, and maintain time, cost and quality controls
  • work with specialists in technical areas concerned with fire, hydraulics, and mechanical, electrical and structural design, ensuring industry regulations are met
  • prepare and administer tenders and contract documents
  • re-design the interiors of old buildings and design furnishings to be made by cabinetmakers, antique furniture restorers and other tradespeople
  • design exhibitions, commercial display stands or stage, film and television production sets.

Working conditions for a Interior Designer

Interior design requires an understanding of building construction, lighting, colour and furniture. Interior designers may work individually as consultants or with a design group. They visit clients in their homes and offices, and can often work long hours, including evenings and weekends. They usually work for clients on an agreed fee basis.

Employment Opportunities for a Interior Designer

Interior designers can work on a wide range of projects, including residential, commercial, retail, hospitality and institutional developments such as schools and hospitals. A few work as designers on stage, film and television productions. Major employers include large construction firms, architects, some government departments and large retail stores. Opportunities also exist for self-employment as consultants. Competition for jobs is very strong. Initially, interior designers may look for work interstate or overseas where a wider range of experience is available.

Avg. weekly wage:

$1,010

Future growth:

very strong growth

Employment by state:

ACT 1.8%

NSW 33.8%

NT 0%

QLD 7.5%

SA 11.2%

TAS 1.2%

VIC 35.8%

WA 8.8%

Hours worked:

39.2

Unemployment:

below average

Gender split:

Proportion of male workers 27.3%

Proportion of female workers 72.7%

Education level:

Proportion of workers who have not completed Year 10: 0%

Proportion of workers who have not completed Year 12: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is secondary school: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 19%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 34.9%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 46%

Age bracket:

Proprortion of workers aged below 35 years: 44.7%

Proportion of workers aged above 35 years: 55.2%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Additional Information
After gaining some industry experience, graduates may qualify for full membership of the Design Institute of Australia. Student, Graduate and Associate membership may also be available prior to meeting the requirements for full membership.
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