Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Interior Designers in Chicago, Illinois

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for interior designers in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 3,540 working interior designers in Illinois; this should grow 15% to 4,060 working interior designers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for interior designers are expected to grow by about 19.4%. In general, interior designers plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings.

Interior designers earn about $22 per hour or $47,450 per year on average in Illinois and about $21 per hour or $44,950 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Art and Design, people working as interior designers in Illinois earn more. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Art and Design nationally. People working as interior designers can fill a number of jobs, such as: color and materials designer, kitchen designer, and home lighting adviser.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including fifteen within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as an interior designer. The most common level of education for interior designers is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be an interior designer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Interior Designer

Interior Designer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, interior designers plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. They also formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style.

Interior designers talk with clients to establish factors affecting planning interior environments, such as budget and function. They also advise clients on interior design factors such as space planning, layout and utilization of furnishings or equipment, and color coordination. Equally important, interior designers have to render layout concepts in form of paste-ups or drawings. They are often called upon to estimate material requirements and costs, and present layouts to clients for approval. They are expected to formulate environmental plans to be practical and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity or selling products. Finally, interior designers use computer-aided drafting (CAD) and related software to produce construction documents.

Every day, interior designers are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to be creative and generate new ideas. It is also important that they visualize how things come together and can be organized.

It is important for interior designers to formulate and layout interior environments for boats and other enclosed spaces. Somewhat less frequently, interior designers are also expected to direct other professionals, such as contractors and plumbers, to insure job success.

They also have to be able to inspect and detail shop drawings for construction plans And finally, they sometimes have to render layout concepts in form of paste-ups or drawings.

Like many other jobs, interior designers must be thorough and dependable and believe in innovation and creative thought.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
  • Craftsman. Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.
  • Display Specialist. Plan and erect commercial displays.
  • Fashion Designer. Design clothing and accessories. Create original garments or design garments that follow well established fashion trends. May develop the line of color and kinds of materials.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Florist. Design, cut, and arrange live, dried, or artificial flowers and foliage.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • Industrial Designer. Develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. Combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.
  • Multi-Media Artist or Animator. Create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, and commercials.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Interior Designer Training

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Interior Design which graduated forty, three, and thirteen students respectively in 2008.

Westwood College-Chicago Loop - Chicago, IL

Westwood College-Chicago Loop, 17 N State St-Ste 300, Chicago, IL 60602. Westwood College-Chicago Loop is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 685 students and an admission rate of 62%. Westwood College-Chicago Loop has a bachelor's degree program in Interior Design which graduated five students in 2008.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago, IL

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 36 S Wabash, Chicago, IL 60603. School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,990 students and an admission rate of 81%. School of the Art Institute of Chicago has a bachelor's degree program in Interior Architecture which graduated sixteen students in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has an associate's degree program in Interior Design which graduated eight students in 2008.

Westwood College-Dupage - Woodridge, IL

Westwood College-Dupage, 7155 Janes Avenue, Woodridge, IL 60517. Westwood College-Dupage is a small college located in Woodridge, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 659 students and an admission rate of 37%. Westwood College-Dupage has a bachelor's degree program in Interior Design which graduated eight students in 2008.

Robert Morris College - Chicago, IL

Robert Morris College, 401 S State Street, Chicago, IL 60605. Robert Morris College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,555 students and an admission rate of 79%. Robert Morris College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Interior Design which graduated zero and seven students respectively in 2008.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago - Chicago, IL

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, 350 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654-1593. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,900 students and an admission rate of 48%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago has a bachelor's degree program in Interior Design which graduated forty-seven students in 2008.

Westwood College-O'Hare Airport - Chicago, IL

Westwood College-O'Hare Airport, 8501 W. Higgins Road Suite 100, Chicago, IL 60634. Westwood College-O'Hare Airport is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 676 students and an admission rate of 48%. Westwood College-O'Hare Airport has a bachelor's degree program in Interior Design which graduated nine students in 2008.

Westwood College-River Oaks - Calumet City, IL

Westwood College-River Oaks, 80 River Oaks Ctr-Ste 111, Calumet City, IL 60409. Westwood College-River Oaks is a small college located in Calumet City, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 629 students and an admission rate of 37%. Westwood College-River Oaks has a bachelor's degree program in Interior Design which graduated one student in 2008.

Harrington College of Design - Chicago, IL

Harrington College of Design, 200 W. Madison, Chicago, IL 60606. Harrington College of Design is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,317 students. Harrington College of Design has one to two year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree programs in Interior Design which graduated one, seventy-nine, and 209 students respectively in 2008.

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has an associate's degree program in Interior Design which graduated eight students in 2008.

Columbia College Chicago - Chicago, IL

Columbia College Chicago, 600 South Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605-1996. Columbia College Chicago is a large college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 12,464 students. Columbia College Chicago has 2 areas of study related to Interior Designer. They are:

  • Interior Architecture, master's degree.
  • Interior Design, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated twelve and four students respectively in 2008.

International Academy of Design and Technology - Chicago, IL

International Academy of Design and Technology, One North State Street - Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60602-3300. International Academy of Design and Technology is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,080 students. International Academy of Design and Technology has a bachelor's degree program in Interior Design which graduated eighty-one students in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Interior Design which graduated two and seven students respectively in 2008.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg - Schaumburg, IL

The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg, 1000 Plaza Drive Ste. 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4913. The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg is a small school located in Schaumburg, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,257 students and an admission rate of 47%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg has 2 areas of study related to Interior Designer. They are:

  • Interior Architecture, bachelor's degree.
  • Interior Design, less than one year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree which graduated three, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Lighting Management Consultant: The lighting industry prides itself on distinguishing those persons who have accomplished this professional and personal achievement.

For more information, see the International Association of Lighting Management Companies website.

Certified Kitchen Designer: CKDs specialize in the design, planning and execution of residential kitchens and bathrooms, and prove advanced knowledge of technical and personal communication skills required to succeed as a design specialist.

For more information, see the National Kitchen & Bath Association website.

Certified Bath Designer: CBDs specialize in the design, planning and execution of residential kitchens and bathrooms, and prove advanced knowledge of technical and personal communication skills required to succeed as a design specialist.

For more information, see the National Kitchen & Bath Association website.

Associate Kitchen & Bath Designer: AKBDs are industry professionals with documented experience and education in the kitchen and bath industry.

For more information, see the National Kitchen & Bath Association website.

Certified Kitchen Educator : A Certified Kitchen Educator is a college instructor who specialize in teaching residential kitchen and/or bathroom design.

For more information, see the National Kitchen & Bath Association website.

Certified Bathroom Educator: A Certified Bathroom Educator is a college instructors who specialize in teaching residential kitchen and/or bathroom design.

For more information, see the National Kitchen & Bath Association website.

Certified Decorator: A decorator at this level and for this designation prepares and finishes sweet baked goods for a commercial bakery.

For more information, see the Retail Bakers of America website.

LICENSES

INTERIOR DESIGNER

Licensing agency: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Address: 320 West Washington, Springfield, IL 62786

Phone: (217) 782-8556
Website: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

INTERIOR DESIGNER, RESIDENTIAL

Licensing agency: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Address: 320 West Washington, Springfield, IL 62786

Phone: (217) 782-8556
Website: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.