How to Become an Interior Architect

Interior architecture combines many aspects of interior design and architecture. Thus, as an interior architect, you play a dual role for clients. You redesign spaces inside houses and buildings to make them more functional, safe and attractive according to clients' needs and specifications. For example, you create designs that update the rooms of an old, historical house into contemporary spaces. However, before working for clients, you must know how to become an interior architect.


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    Research the required education. You have 2 options according to the type of post-secondary education you have.
    • You choose to obtain a bachelor's degree in interior architecture if you are starting college for the first time or have an associate's degree. The degree takes approximately 5 years to complete.
    • A master's degree in interior architecture takes about 2 years to finish. You pick this degree if you already have a bachelor's degree-regardless of your undergraduate major.
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    Gain interior architecture education.
    • Apply to the college or university of choice.
    • Take courses in interior building materials, ecology of design, building codes, interior architecture theory, lighting and color.
    • Participate in interior architecture extracurricular activities such as college and professional organizations to gain additional education and meet potential employers.
    • Complete a co-op or internship at an interior architecture firm. Typically, the college or university requires you take the co-op or internship during a certain year of school, such as your junior or senior year of undergraduate school or second year of graduate school. You receive college credit and/ or pay.
  3. Image titled Become an Architect in Canada Step 2
    Acquire experience after graduation.
    • Apply for and complete an apprenticeship at a design or architecture firm. During your apprenticeship, which lasts approximately 1 to 3 years, you work under the supervision of a licensed interior architect.
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    Obtain Licensure offered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).
    • Study for the licensure examination.
    • Meet licensure requirements such as having a degree.
    • Take and pass the multi-part examination.
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    Become an interior architect.
    • Find a job as an interior architect on your own using online or newspaper classifieds or using contacts made during school, internships or apprenticeships.


  • The National Council for Interior Design Qualification offers a voluntary certification. The certification doesn't replace the state licensure examination, but demonstrates that you have the interior design skills prospective clients and employers seek. Qualifying for the examination requires approximately 3,000 hours of work experience and a degree.
  • Working as an architect assistant any time during the process of becoming an interior architect is helpful. You attain work experience at a firm, make contacts and learn needed skills such as drafting or designing.


  • State licensure requirements may require you to complete additional courses to keep licensure active.
  • Licensure requirements vary by state. For instance you may have to complete an internship, submit references, have a degree and provide employment records before you can become licensed.

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Categories: Architecture and Design Occupations