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How Do I Get an Interior Design Apprenticeship?

D. Nelson
D. Nelson

A good way to get an interior design apprenticeship is to enroll in a design program. Many programs offer students opportunities to meet established professionals who routinely take on apprentices to help with the work load in their interior design firms. It also can be a good idea to join groups and organizations made for interior designers. Many people find that by networking with professional designers, they can find out about openings. Interior design professionals also recommend designing a resume that helps you to stand apart from the competition and a portfolio that shows clear and impressive examples of your work.

Interior designers are creative professionals who specialize in designing spaces. Aside from making spaces aesthetically appealing by choosing the right colors and types of furniture, a designer also may be responsible for making sure that a space can function well. For example, an individual hired to design a business office should choose professional colors and styles, but should also make sure that professionals who work in an office can perform their duties with ease.

A good first step to getting an interior design apprenticeship is enrolling in a vocational school design program.
A good first step to getting an interior design apprenticeship is enrolling in a vocational school design program.

To get an interior design apprenticeship, a good first step is to enter a vocational program. Many design schools include internships and entry level positions as part of their curricula. Even if you do not have this opportunity as a student, having a degree or certification in this field can make you a more appealing candidate to employers who are looking for apprentices.

Organizations such as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) in the United States can provide some great opportunities for a person who is seeking an interior design apprenticeship. As a matter of fact, many professionals believe that networking with established designers is one of the most effective ways to find out about apprenticeship job openings. Professional networking sites also can be valuable. You can post your resume online so that those seeking apprentices easily can access your information.

In the business world, many professionals are urged to compose resumes that are plain, simple, and to the point. To get an interior design apprenticeship, on the other hand, you might benefit instead from designing a resume that shows your taste and style. At the same time, it can be important that your resume is not so elaborate that it is difficult to read.

A portfolio is essential for anyone who would like an interior design apprenticeship. Your portfolio should be tailored for the kind of apprenticeship you wish to earn. For example, if you are interested in designing business offices, your portfolio should show examples of your work in a professional setting, as opposed to a residential one.

How To Become an Interior Designer

Learning The Basics

The first step to becoming an interior designer is to complete a bachelor's degree. You can get a degree in interior design, architecture or even graphic design. More important than what bachelor's degree you obtain is your work history. That's why an internship or apprenticeship is key to your interior design career. To get hired as an interior designer, a company will usually want to see at least five years of work experience. An apprenticeship is a great way to gain experience to boost your resume.

Getting Your First Job

To become an interior designer, there are two main paths you can take. After you finish your degree and internship, you can either go to work for a design firm or other company, or you can start your own business. If you choose to work for someone else, the next step in your career is to get hired. You will want to look at job boards and have a great resume ready when you find an opening that matches your skillset. Alumni groups or other industry associations can also help you connect with potential employers. Finally, you can connect with design firms directly to let them know you are looking for work.

How To Start an Interior Design Business

Set Up a Legal Framework

There are a couple of ways to set up your interior design business, and each has its pros and cons. Depending on the state you live in, you may want to set up an LLC, or Limited Liability Corporation. You will need to decide on the name of your business, fill out the necessary paperwork and pay any fees to register your business as an LLC. If you are the only person doing design work, you also have the option of doing business as a sole proprietor. Either way, choosing to register your business can help you establish legitimacy and protect your business assets.

Determine Your Niche and Services

When you are starting your own interior design business, one of the first things you should do is decide what type of clients you want to work with. Are you hoping to work in residential homes, or would you rather design in professional settings? As a residential interior designer, you could work designing single rooms or entire houses for homeowners. You could also work with contractors or real estate companies to stage houses that are for sale. On the other hand, if you are more interested in designing professional spaces you could find yourself designing office spaces, hotel rooms or even the waiting room at the doctor's office.

No matter the design route you decide to take, you will also need to determine the specific services you want to offer. Some interior designers only make a design plan for their clients, letting the customer implement it in their space. If you want to be more involved, you could choose to have your business offer full design services. This could include design consultation, the purchase of any pieces and full implementation of the design in the space.

Market Your Business

Once you have your name, niche, and services down, it's time to start promoting your interior design business. Marketing covers all the ways you may be letting people know about your services. This can include:

  • Social media
  • Print advertising, like newspaper ads
  • Radio advertising
  • Billboards and other signs
  • A website
  • Business cards
  • Direct mail
  • and more!

You may want to hire a marketing professional to help you with your marketing plan so you can focus more fully on interior design. Additionally, don't discount the power of networking. Joining business groups like local chambers of commerce are a good way to get the name of your new business out there. Home shows and other local events also offer a chance to introduce yourself to potential clients. Your new interior design business will be booming in no time.

How Long Does it Take to Become an Interior Designer?

Becoming an interior designer can take several years. Interior design degree programs are usually four years long. As part of a degree, you may complete an internship or apprenticeship, which can last from six months to a year. After you have completed an apprenticeship or other formal training, you are ready to enter the workforce as an interior designer. If you are starting your own business, it can take some time to build up a client base. To get to your design work quicker, you may want to try to work for an established design agency.

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    • A good first step to getting an interior design apprenticeship is enrolling in a vocational school design program.
      By: Goran Bogicevic
      A good first step to getting an interior design apprenticeship is enrolling in a vocational school design program.