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Q. What is interior design? How much money do Interior Designers make?

A. Interior Design is the art and science of designing the spaces inside habitable buildings. Interior Designers are hired by clients to prepare designs that organize space & create an identity for interior spaces that people can live, work, meet, and play in. Salaries for Interior Designers can vary greatly depending on region, types of projects, and experience. Generally, a Certified Interior Designer in Southern California will earn anywhere between $50,000 - $175,000 per year.

Q. What is Home Staging?

A. Also known as home decorating, Home Staging consultants assist real estate agents, developers, and home owners by creating aesthetic designs for interior residential spaces through the selection of furniture, fixtures, finishes, and accessories. Although no specific certification is required to begin work as a Home Staging consultant, it is highly recommend to have a fundamental education by earning the Certificate of Specialization Interior Design (Home Staging).

Interior Design home staging.

Q. What is a Set Decorator?

A. Set Decorators prepare designs and dress sets for TV and film productions. Set Decorators also work closely with prop houses, set fabricators, and technicians to ensure that the finished sets achieve the aesthetic vision and technical requirements needed for a successful TV / film production. Although no specific certification is required to begin work as a Set Decorator, it is highly recommend to have a fundamental education by earning the Certificate of Specialization Interior Design (Set Decorator for TV and Film).

Interior Design set decorating.

Q. I'm currently not a COC student, but interested in taking Interior Design classes how do I start?

A. The application to become a College of the Canyons student is available online here. You will be able to enroll in classes once the application process has been completed.

Q. What classes should I take?

A. Each students academic & career goals are different and often informed by the unique circumstances of their life, so it is highly recommended that you schedule an advising appointment with our full-time Interior Design professor Holly Hitt Zuniga to discuss specific class selection recommendations and to develop a plan for achieving your academic & career goals. To assist with your class selection process, a roadmap has been prepared to help guide towards earning the Interior Design A.S. Degree within 2 years, click here for the Roadmap, and the Summer Start Roadmap.

Interior Design student working on project.

Q. I want to become a Certified Interior Designer in California. What is involved and how long will it take?

A. It can take anywhere from 6 years (minimum) to up to 12 years from the time you begin your education to becoming a Certified Interior Designer in the State of California. During that time you will need to complete a minimum of 40 units of Interior Design related coursework from an accredited Interior Design program (such as earning the Certificate of Achievement in Interior Design from College of the Canyons), work as an Interior Design Intern (earning $), and then pass the IDEX California exam.

Both the Certificate of Achievement Interior Design and the Associate of Science Degree Interior Design offered at College of the Canyons provide students with a solid foundation for pursuing Interior Design certification in the state of California including the acquisition of in-demand internship skills as well as academic coursework for students wishing to transfer with advanced standing to a 4-year Interior Design or Interior Architecture Bachelors degree program. More information on the requirements for becoming a California Certified Interior Designer can be found here. Similarly, the entire certification and internship process is explored in detail in the ID-100 Careers in Architecture, Interior Design and Related Fields course.

Q. I'm not sure I want to devote that many years towards becoming a Certified Interior Designer. What are some other career opportunities I can pursue after earning an A.S. Interior Design degree or Certificate at COC?

- Interior Design Intern
- Production / Set Designer
- Home Staging Consultant
- Kitchen + Bath Designer
- Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) Technician
- 3d Modeler (for Architecture / Interior Design)
- Theatrical Lighting Consultant
- Branding Advisor
- Signage Designer
- Commercial Kitchen Consultant
- Furniture Designer
- LEED Project Coordinator
- Project Manager Assistant
- Real Estate Agent
- Permit Expeditor

Interior Design and Home Staging Internship and Job Opportunities

Once you have become a student of the COC Architecture and Interior Design program, you'll have access to our ARCHID LinkedIn job database which provides job leads and connections to local employers specifically looking to hire COC Architecture and Interior Design students for paid positions.

Q. Are there scholarship opportunities available?

A. Yes..! The Architecture and Interior Design program annually offers McAvoy Innovation Scholarships for currently enrolled students, plus COC offers a great variety of other scholarships available for all students - College of the Canyons Scholarship Awards.

Don't see an answer to your question?

Please contact our full-time Interior Design professor Holly Hitt-Zuniga ( or 661.362.5610) or the department chair Jason Oliver ( or 661.362.3316) with your question or for further program information.