Definition of the Field
To put it simply, an interior design architect is a licensed architect with a specialization in interior design. The architectural issues of form and function, heating and cooling systems, as well as occupational and safety standards are part and parcel of architecture interior design jobs. The main difference is that the interior architect's main focus is on the interiors of the building instead of the exterior façade. Many regard the specialization as picking up where the other architects left off. It must also be noted that the term "interior architect" is synonymous to "interior designer" in many parts of North America as well as in mainland Europe. For this article, the interior design architecture jobs will be used interchangeably with interior designer jobs and vice-versa.
Education, Training and License
It is necessary to go through the three main steps of becoming a licensed architect before the title of interior architect can be attained. Training programs for interior designers are also available from colleges and universities with design schools, which take anywhere from 2 to 4 years to finish. The degree awarded as well as the internship program availed of will depend on the number of years spent in school - 2 years means an associate's degree with qualifications to be qualified for assistant-to-an-interior-designer position while 4 years leads to a bachelor's degree and an opportunity to be part of a formal apprenticeship program.
The 1 to 3-year apprenticeship program for interior designers can be completed in many ways. Graduates may choose to be employed in design and architecture companies as well as in furniture stores and sites. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification, which administers the licensure examinations, also makes available the Interior Design Experience Program to assist entry-level interior architects gain valuable work experience before licensure. But just like other professions, a license is not all there is to landing the best architecture interior design jobs. Employers also look for personal traits like excellent communication skills; rich creative imagination; ability to work under pressure and in an independent manner; deliver the expected reports, plans and results on time; and keep up with the trends.
Duties, Functions and Responsibilities
Most of the interior design architecture jobs will specify similar duties, functions and responsibilities expressed in so many different words. The main job of the interior architect is to design indoor spaces with safety, comfort and functionality in mind while ensuring that the desired aesthetics are in place as well. This objective is achieved mainly by working with the clients, the engineers, the contractors and, most importantly, the interior decorators. Undoubtedly, just as in the main branch of architecture, the interior architect must balance function and practicality on one hand with form and beauty on the other hand. The years of education, apprenticeship and work experience should pay off in such a balancing act.
Employment Prospects, Changes and Earnings
Despite the national recession, architecture interior design jobs are expected to increase by respectable rates in the next 10 years due to many factors. For one thing, more companies, families and individuals are realizing the need for interiors designed in an energy-efficient, law-compliant and aesthetically-pleasing way. For another thing, healthcare establishments are still growing and will need interior architects to designs the best interior spaces for their employees and patients. Furthermore, interior design architecture jobs with an environmental bent are also expected to increase in the next few years. Thus, knowledge of green design will be an advantage.
However, with an overall tight job market, competition for jobs in interior architecture is very keen. A professional with formal training and license as well as the right personal traits will definitely have an edge. Once accepted into the job, salaries and perks will expectedly vary from one industry to the next. The median annual wage for May 2008 was at $44, 950. Keep in mind that these figures do not include perks and benefits. Indeed, the road may be long and difficult towards architecture interior design jobs but the rewards are well worth the trek.