Skip to main content

Comparing Career Paths in Interior Design

By September 5, 2022September 29th, 2022Interior Design

What is an interior design assistant?

While the job responsibilities of interior design assistants can differ depending on the role, these professionals aid certified interior designers (CID) in their day-to-day job duties. Interior design assistants can play a supportive role by assisting with administrative, clerical, and design-oriented tasks. They can also help share the design workload and act as an extra set of eyes on projects. Factors that impact job duties and responsibilities include the type of interior design (residential or commercial), state regulations defining the role, and an employer’s needs.

The benefits of an interior design assistant career

An interior design assistant is becoming a popular entry point into the interior design industry. As with CIDs, interior design assistants are in high demand. Interior design assistants help fill gaps of unmet demand by working under the supervision of CIDs. The growth of the interior design assistant role can be seen as the continued professionalization of the interior design industry. Regulations and requirements to become an interior design assistant have become more consistent across states.

Comparing the qualifications of CIDs vs design assistants

In many states, CIDs are required to receive a four-year degree, gain professional experience, and pass a standardized licensure exam before practicing as professional interior designers.

In contrast, the interior design assistant job description includes–in many states–a two-year college degree. However, interior design assistants take many of the core classes offered to student CIDs. These often include many technical and creative courses as well as the ability to earn job experience while in school. In established design programs, students receive instruction from expert design professors eager to pass on their knowledge.

The role assistants play in the design process

An interior design assistant’s day-to-day duties may vary. Some responsibilities may consist of: client communication, record-keeping, coordinating with vendors, and operating computer-aided drafting programs.

CIDs are more likely to take on supervisory roles and will take the lead when it comes to planning, organizing, budgeting, and executing a project. As skilled professionals, interior design assistants are expected to take on major roles in many project phases.

With the right skill set, interior design assistants may have the freedom to carve out their own roles. Job responsibilities could focus on a single area of an interior design business or involve the duties of multiple positions like project management, account executive, or sales. Interior designers are typically just one segment of a construction or renovation project and could also play an essential role in coordinating between construction, architectural, and design teams.

How to become an interior design assistant

In most states, professionals can practice as interior design assistants after completing a two-year interior design education program. These professionals will learn many of the same drawing, drafting, and computer rendering skills as CIDs. The curriculum can closely align with full four-year certified interior design programs but typically requires fewer hours overall. In Villa Maria College’s home state of New York, interior design assistants need a combination of a degree and work experience but are not required to take a licensure examination like their CID counterparts.