Interior Architect: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
Interior architects, though often grouped with interior decorators, take on a bigger task than making a room or building aesthetically pleasing. They take into account what is practical and beautiful, but they must also understand the structure of a building in order to make it safe and functional. Interior architects usually are degree holders and certified in their career field.
View 3 Popular Schools »
Interior Architect Job Description
Interior architects specialize in designing and building interiors for safety, functionality and aesthetics. It is important that interior architects not only understand the durability and strength of building materials, but also be skilled in the use of light, color and textures in a space.
Interior architects draft plans to create or refinish spaces in private homes or commercial buildings with their clients' tastes in mind. Each job may require interaction with different clients, additional architects or designers, construction teams and inspectors. In creating plans for a space, they take into account interior construction, lighting and furnishings. Interior architects must also be aware of federal, state and local building regulations so their designs are up-to-code.
Interior Architect Duties
Interior architects are typically part of the building or remodeling process from beginning to end. They begin a job by meeting with the client to discuss the expectations for the project. At these initial meetings, it is the interior architect's job to listen to the wants and needs of the client and make building suggestions. They also need to get a feel for the space.
After the initial consultations, the interior architect drafts design plans. These
plans may show placement of walls, windows, doors, plumbing, electrical systems, ventilation, structural accents and possibly furnishings. They generally use computer drafting programs, such as computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM), for this step.
Interior Architect Requirements
In order to qualify for an entry-level position with an architecture or design firm, interior architects need a 4-year degree. The typical degree of choice is a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture. Some universities may group a degree in interior architecture with a degree in interior design. When selecting an interior architecture program, students should look for one that is approved by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). There are more than 150 CIDA accredited bachelor programs nationwide.
Following the completion of a 4-year degree and two years of professional experience, interior architects are eligible to take the National Council for Interior Design Accreditation (NCIDQ) exam. After passing this exam, interior architects become licensed.
Though not always necessary for advancement, some interior architects continue their education to receive a Master of Arts in Interior Architecture. This typically consists of 1-2 extra years of education and may allow interior architects to begin their careers above an entry-level position or advance.
Salary Information and Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that architects, excluding landscape and naval architects, should see job growth that is faster than the national average, at a rate of 17% between 2012 and 2022. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for architects, excluding landscape and naval architects, was $73,090 in May of 2012.