Career Information

What jobs can I get? How much can I get paid?


More than just decorators, designers draw from many disciplines — including architecture, product design and environmental psychology — to plan the functionality and interior environment of buildings. Designers need to understand construction, furniture, fixtures, equipment, materials, accessibility and building codes.

El Centro’s location in downtown Dallas puts you at the center of a professional design district with opportunities for hands-on learning, student internships and immediate employment after graduation. Our program is a particularly good fit for those who have already earned a bachelor's degree but want a career change.

Our rigorous program will prepare you to work as a design assistant with the potential to realize full professional status and independent practice. Licensure as an interior designer with the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners requires both education and practical experience as well as passing the National Council for Interior Design Qualifying Exam.

Interior designers plan the spaces of almost every type of building, including:

  • Airport terminals
  • Corporate spaces
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels
  • Private residences
  • Public buildings
  • Restaurants
  • Schools
  • Shopping malls
  • Theaters

Drawing upon architecture, product design and aesthetics, interior designers must understand how to work with architectural detailing, floor plans, construction codes and remodeling and renovation. A good interior designer should have these skill sets:

  • Business knowledge
  • Computer skills
  • Artistic and aesthetic sensibility
  • The ability to communicate well and promote your ideas with a wide variety of people

In general, an interior designer:

  • Analyzes the client’s needs, goals and living and safety requirements;
  • Integrates findings with knowledge of interior design;
  • Formulates preliminary design concepts that are functional and aesthetic;
  • Develops and presents final design recommendations by presentation;
  • Prepares working drawings and specifications for interior construction, materials, finishes, space planning, furnishings, fixtures and equipment;
  • Collaborates with architects, engineers and other licensed professionals as required for regulatory approval;
  • Prepares and administers bids and contract documents as the client’s agent; and
  • Reviews and evaluates design solutions during implementation and upon completion.

Why Is This a Good Career Bet?

Interior designers work in a wide variety of commercial settings that include many high-growth career sectors. Demand for interior design services from the health care industry is expected to be high in designing facilities for the aging population. Hospitality businesses such as hotels, resorts and restaurants demand good design to stand out in a highly competitive industry.

Homeowners also increasingly use the services of interior designers for remodeling and updating their homes. Interior designers may focus on specialty niches such as kitchens, baths or outdoor living spaces to set themselves apart from the competition.

CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, projects job growth of 21% for interior designers over the next decade. With a design industry in the area, job possibilities are higher than in most cities outside of the east and west coasts for interior designers with solid professional skills.

Working Conditions

Working conditions vary depending on the size and scope of the company. Large corporations often hire interior designers for regular working hours, while designers for smaller firms usually work on a contract basis. Self-employed designers, representing about a quarter of all working professionals, must not only do the work but also generate the business by locating jobs and clients.

Interior designers must meet deadlines, stay on budget and deal effectively with a wide range of personalities and client demands. Work tends to involve a fair amount of travel to visit different locations, studios or clients’ homes and offices.