Do Interior Designers Really Need a Degree?

Many budding interior designers grapple with the dilemma of paying a small fortune for a design degree. But of course, there is the tempting idea of employing other affordable alternatives – like watching YouTube tutorials and building a portfolio from scratch. As an aspiring interior designer, you should be thinking beyond sustaining your dream. Dreams do not feed people and pay the bills – jobs do. There are good jobs in interior designing and they are available for the qualified.

So how do people who hire interior designers define “qualification”? Is a strong portfolio enough? Or is a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design a key factor to unlocking your future career?

Let us discuss your options:

How do you plan to begin your career?

Without a degree:

Starting your interior design career without guidance is like piloting a plane for the first time without training, auto-pilot, or GPS. To avoid an epic crash, you either need to have an extreme amount of genius, good luck, or both. Practicing the software skills you need may not be the largest challenge. But if you have plans to start freelancing on your own, you will lose out to students who took hands-on modules that taught them how to work with materials and industry machinery. This path is not recommended unless you have contacts in the industry and someone who is willing to teach you the ropes for free.

With a degree:

If you want some guidance from professionals by joining a big design agency, you will need the qualifications – Especially so when you want to work in competitive countries like Singapore. Having a degree also allows you to branch out into teaching the subject after you have gained at least five years of relevant working experience. Not to mention, graduating from a top design school looks good on your portfolio. It also boosts the confidence of your future clients whether you intend to join a design company or start your own freelancing services.