How to Become an Interior Designer Without a Degree in 2024

How to Become an Interior Designer Without a Degree in 2024

When you start your career in interior design, you need to showcase your expertise. While a bachelor’s degree in interior design offers a valuable pathway, it’s not the sole key to entry. Your skill set and experience play a crucial role in demonstrating your professional readiness. Even if you don’t have a degree, you can still prove your design skills to clients and gain their trust through other means.

So, how to become an interior designer without a degree? Let’s go through this article to explore the essential 6 steps to becoming an interior designer. It will help you become a constantly sought-after interior designer even without a design-related degree.

What is an Interior Designer

Interior designers are professionals who specialize in creating functional and aesthetically pleasing interior spaces for residential and commercial settings. They typically possess a solid understanding of design principles, excellent drawing skills, high levels of creativity, effective communication skills, project management skills, and more.

Beyond the initial vision, interior designers manage the entire interior design journey. It’s a multi-faceted process that begins with in-depth client communications to understand their visions and budgetary constraints to match the actual needs without over the budget. Next comes meticulous site analysis, involving field measurements and assessment of the existing space. Armed with this information, interior design proposals are then meticulously crafted, including floor plans, detailed renderings, and precise construction drawings. But the story doesn’t end there. You also need to maintain clear communication with the construction team and actively oversee progress and quality to ensure a successful project.

While having a degree can be helpful for your interior design career, it’s not essential. You can start your career and improve interior design skills through independent study, professional certifications, hands-on experience, and more. Please remember that the possibilities are endless, even without a traditional degree.

6 Steps to Become an Interior Designer Without a Degree

It’s not that difficult to become an interior designer without a degree. Next, we will provide you with a detailed guide covering all the qualities required by an interior designer to help you start your interior design career faster.

Step 1: Train Yourself with Required Skills

Anyone can be passionate about interior design, but becoming a successful designer requires specific skills and qualities. In the following, we’ll explore some essential skills that pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career in interior design.

  • Creativity

Interior design requires creativity to turn a vision into reality. Interior designers not only need to imagine how to use various furniture, decorations, and colors to create a warm and comfortable space atmosphere in their minds, but also need to consider the customer’s family members, living habits, preferences, and other factors to design a reasonable space. Moreover, creativity is the core competitiveness of interior designers and is the key for designers to stand out in the fierce market competition.

  • Drawing Skills

In addition to having good creativity, you also need strong drawing skills to present your work. There are usually two ways of drawing, hand drawing and using CAD softwares. Although using CAD software is a more popular option nowadays, only with a foundation of hand drawing can you perfectly present the needs in design.

  • Patience

Interior design is a continuous process of modification and improvement, requiring interior designers to patiently modify design plans until they meet customer requirements. Moreover, various problems occur during the design process, requiring you to patiently communicate and coordinate with all parties to solve and ultimately complete the design.

  • Communication

Having strong communication skills is crucial for interior designers, as it enables them to better understand their client’s needs and create interior spaces that meet their requirements. Additionally, designers need to communicate effectively with all parties involved in the design process to ensure the smooth implementation of the design plan. Not only that, through effective communication with peers, designers can stay up to date with the latest design trends and technologies, which ultimately helps them to improve their design skills.

Step 2: Be Proficient in CAD Tools

Although hand-drawing allows designers to freely express their creativity, CAD software has become an increasingly indispensable element of the workflow. This is mainly because interior design requires precise measurements and specifications, which can be accurately achieved using interior design software. Errors in this area can significantly impact the final design.

Another advantage of CAD software is that enables interior designers to create realistic 3D renderings, which can help them effectively convey their design concepts, foster clearer understanding, and enhance collaboration. Beyond that, the flexibility of interior design software is another key benefit. It allows designers to make modifications and adjustments to their designs quickly, without having to start from scratch. This is especially useful when collaborating with clients and making changes to the design to meet their needs. However, it is important to note that CAD software for interior design can be expensive, particularly industry-standard software like AutoCAD. For those on a tight budget and with little experience in using CAD software, it is recommended to start with beginner-friendly and inexpensive CAD software such as ZWCAD.

Step 3: Seek Internship or Apprenticeship for Experience

While theoretical knowledge is important, practical experience is even more critical for interior designers, especially for those without a degree. Not only can you participate in actual projects during internships and apprenticeships, giving you a deep understanding of how the interior design industry works, professional standards, and best practices, but you can also learn from experienced designers and exchange design ideas, thereby improving your interior design skills. You can usually find a wide range of entry-level interior design positions from large interior design firms or established interior design studios. Be bold with your resume and take advantage of every opportunity to gain experience in the interior design industry.

Step 4: Create a Unique Interior Designer Profile

The design portfolio plays a vital role in an interior designer’s career development. It is the primary means for interior designers to showcase their professional skills and design style. The core elements of a compelling portfolio typically include your resume, design concepts, and most importantly, a curated selection of your work. Showcase projects that represent the breadth and depth of your design expertise, encompassing diverse styles and project types while briefly explaining the design concept, its functionality, the materials and colors used, and any unique design solutions employed. This allows potential clients to quickly grasp your design thinking and skill level, gaining valuable insights into your capabilities.

Step 5: Build Your Own Networking

Building a strong network of contacts is crucial for interior designers seeking to thrive in the industry. This network can provide valuable access to project information, opportunities to hone design skills, and avenues to expand your business reach, ultimately leading to more development possibilities.

Building this network starts with fostering strong industry relationships. You can participate in industry events or join industry associations to get connections with other designers and industry professionals. But if you are still a beginner in interior design, then you can also reach out to other designers and industry professionals through social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and so on.

Step 6: Obtain Interior Designer Certification

Professional qualification certification can offer several benefits for the career development and industry status of interior designers. The most significant advantage is that it enhances your competitiveness and provides you with more employment opportunities. Moreover, many clients prefer to choose certified designers because they trust the certification body’s assessment of professional standards and quality. If you wish to pursue a career in interior design, it is recommended that you complete relevant courses and obtain an interior design practitioner qualification certification.

However, it is essential to note that different regions have different requirements for interior designer qualifications. For instance, some states in the United States may require interior designers to pass national or state-level interior designer certification exams and meet specific academic and work experience requirements. On the other hand, other states may not have explicit certification requirements but may ask interior designers to register or be licensed to practice. Therefore, if you plan to work as an interior designer in the United States, make sure you understand your state’s requirements for a registered interior designer certification.


After reading this article, are you still worried about how to become an interior designer without a degree? All in all, building a successful career in this field requires dedication and time, regardless of your educational background. You need to cultivate your knowledge and skills in interior design, gain relevant work experience, and even pass the interior designer certification exam. Remember, a lack of a degree doesn’t have to limit your aspirations. With passion, dedication, and the right steps, you can make your interior design dreams a reality.

Test your knowledge and practice online quiz for FREE!

Practice Now »


Leave a Comment