BS in Interior Design in the Philippines

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Program Overview

Bachelor of Science in Interior Design (BSID) is a four year degree program designed to teach students design concepts and methods of building interiors. It covers a wide range of professional practices such as: interior design, furniture and accessories design, visual merchandising, production design, exhibition design, interior landscaping design and lighting design. In addition, students learn skills in photography, fashion and other crafts.

The BSID program also trains and educates students in core business fundamentals such as accounting, economics and marketing, in addition to design basics, such as architecture history, textiles and decorative arts. The program also teaches skills such as operating computer-aided design technology, reading blueprints, understanding building codes and deciphering market trends.

Subjects and Curriculum

The subjects in the BSID curriculum are divided into two main categories:
  • General Education Courses:
    • Language and Humanities Cluster
    • Mathematics
    • Computer and Natural Science Cluster
    • Social Sciences Cluster
    • Mandated Subjects
  • Professional Courses:
    • Interior Design
    • Furniture Design and Construction
    • Materials of Decoration
    • History of Art and Period
    • Professional Practice and Ethic
    • Interior Style, Color and Interior
    • Graphic Arts
    • Interior Furnishing
    • Lighting Design
    • Landscaping/Flower Arrangement
    • Photography
    • Building Materials and Construction
    • Computer Aided Design
    • Model Construction
    • Business Organization and Management
The BSID program is taught to students through classroom lectures and hands on exercises. Students are exposed to a wide range of activities outside the classroom such as art workshops, exhibits and fieldtrips.

A student of the BSID program is required to accomplish an apprenticeship in an interior design firm or agency. In addition, an undergraduate thesis is required, and it will be considered as a final design course in interior design. The thesis has to be successfully defended before a panel of jurors designated by the institution.

Is Interior Design a profession?

Interior Design is considered to be a profession. A graduate of BSID who passes the Interior Design Licensure Examination is called a Licensed Interior Designer.

The responsibilities of an Interior Designer include:
  • Work with clients to design or renovate spaces to meet their standards
  • Enhance the function, safety, and aesthetics of interior spaces
  • Select samples, including flooring, carpet, and paint to be approved by client
  • Plan architectural detail such as crown molding and built-in bookshelves
  • Plan and estimate budgets for projects
  • Submit drawings for approval by a construction inspector to ensure that the design meets building codes
  • Draw up floor plans and sketches
  • Supervise assistants who carry out their plans and perform administrative tasks
  • Follow up with client to ensure design specifications have been met

What are the admission requirements for the BS in Interior Design program?

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers.
  • Qualifying Talent Determination Examination: Under CHED memorandum order 28 series of 2008 which governs the Policies and Standards for Bachelor of Interior Design, schools are required to execute a Qualifying Talent Determination Examination before admitting a student to the interior design program. However, not all schools follow this policy so it is up to the applicant to verify this at each school.
  • College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
  • Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college dean/faculty.
(see sources 1, 2)

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?

  • Artistic Skills – the ability to express ideas creatively, translate concepts, feelings, and visions into useful material; being artistic is a must when taking this program because almost every concept revolves around patterns and spatial perception.
  • Creativity – able to easily generate new ideas for designs.
  • Freehand skills – the ability to draw, sketch and paint.
  • Interpersonal skills – ability to get along well with the many people you will be working with, including clients, suppliers, handyman and architects.
  • Analytical skills – able to actively listen to and interpret a client's vision as well as evaluate a room's potential and determine what needs to go, what can be integrated with new pieces and how to maximize her client's resources.
  • Communication skills – being able to effectively articulate your concepts and ideas
  • Basic Mathematical skills – since every project requires the development of a working budget that covers the cost of materials and labor, a time frame for completion and factors in a percentage for profit is needed and this involves the use of mathematics.
  • Computer and software literacy – although traditional methods are still being used to produce designs, modern technology involving the use of computer software and applications is slowly replacing these traditional methods.

How difficult is BS in Interior Design?

Interior Design is a combination of many disciplines. It applies certain concepts of Arts, Architecture and even Engineering. A student must have the innate artistic talent thus the reason why some schools conduct a qualifying talent determination exam.

The use of computers and professional software is a significant part of the BSID program. If you are artistic but do not have the technical ability to learn and operate these software applications, you will have a hard time.

Although the degree of mathematics involved in this course is not high, you will still use simple and complex mathematical operations and formulas from time to time, which can be difficult for some students who are not mathematically inclined.

How long does it take to complete the BS in Interior Design program in the Philippines?

The BS in Interior Design program takes four years to complete (Note: this may change due to the K-12 integration). The program may be completed in a shorter time in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.

Apprenticeship

A student of the BSID program is required to complete an apprenticeship/practicum in an interior design firm or agency. The apprenticeship/practicum is offered usually in the third and fourth year of the program. During the apprenticeship/practicum, students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and practice their skills in actual settings. The program is done under the supervision of a faculty member as well as a designated authority in the company. The required number of hours for the practicum is 150 hours
(see source).

Interior Design Licensure Examination

To become a Licensed Interior Designer in the Philippines, a graduate of BS in Interior Design needs to pass the Interior Design Licensure Exam. The examination is conducted by the Board of Interior Design under the supervision of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).

The Interior Design licensure exam covers the following topics: Interior Design, Furniture Design and Construction, Materials of Design and Decoration, History of Arts and Interior Design, Interior Construction and Utilities, Color Theory and Professional Practice and Ethics.
(see source)

Career opportunities for Interior Design graduates

  • Jobs for licensed Interior Designers (board exam passers)

    There is no official requirement to be a licensed interior designer in order to practive this proffesion. However, most companies prefer to hire licensed interior designers. Usually, those who practice without any license engage in private practice or in lower level positions.

    • Residential Interior Designer – design various rooms inside and around the home. There is a lot of freedom in this type of field because clients generally let their designers have free reign to let their creativity create a beautiful space for them
    • Commercial Interior Designer – designers that specialize in commercial property and do projects for businesses. The type of projects varies greatly. You can do work for banks, hotels, restaurants, clubs, and many other businesses.
    • Freelance Interior Designer – self-employed interior designer working with different clients on a contractual or per project basis.
    • Draftsman/Color-Renderer – chooses appropriate color palettes according to client choices while taking into consideration color schemes that are fit for a certain space or structure
    • Designer of Interior Related Products – designs home accessories such as lamps, lighting equipment, home decors among others.
    • Institutional Space Planner – a space planner is called in when a company decides to put a building or portion of a building to use or when the owner of a residence needs help in designing the best layout for the interior of the home.
    • Display Artist – create innovative and appealing display stands that meet aesthetic, budgetary and practical requirements.
    • Furniture Designer – create objects to furnish homes and businesses, and to act as usable art pieces.
    • CADD Operator – put technical drawings and plans in a specific order with the help of computerized applications with the purpose of creating and building a product. These products can be anything, from vent tubes to cameras or from houses to appliances.
    • Visual Merchandiser – develop, deliver and communicate visual concepts and strategies to promote retail brands, products and services in-store, in catalogues or online. They may also work with museums and galleries or create visual concepts for events.
    • Project Estimator – responsible for compiling estimates of how much it will cost to provide a client or potential client with products or services. He or she will do this by working out how much a project is likely to cost and create budgets accordingly.
    • Design Consultant – suggest design ideas that incorporate functionality and aesthetics. Design consultants may specialize in interior design, commercial and industrial design, fashion design or graphic design.
    • Owner of an Interior Design Firm/Consultation Agency
  • Jobs not related to interior design that graduates can apply to

    • Call center agent – answers phone calls and inquiries of clients and provides customer support, usually to people from other countries
    • Administrative Staff – personnel responsible for the organization and management of office duties and tasks; positions that include office secretary, personal assistant and office clerk
    • Freelancer working online – doing online jobs for clients abroad, such as data entry, article writing, SEO, customer support, administrative support etc., which mainly depends on your skills
  • Career Opportunities Abroad

    According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), working as an Interior Designer is one of the most in demand jobs abroad.

    Interior Design belongs to the top 15 most in demand jobs in countries like Canada, Australia and Singapore. There is also a demand for interior designers in the Middle East, US and Europe because of the rise in construction and design activities in said countries (see sources 1, 2, 3, 4).
  • Salary Levels

    An Interior Designer with 1 to 4 years of experience can expect a monthly salary of P14,300 to P18,000 (see source).

Reviews of BS in Interior Design graduates:

I. K.
◈ Studied Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design (slightly different course)
◈ At Philippine School of Interior Design
◈ Graduated 2013

list bulletWhy did I choose Interior Design: I chose this program because of my great passion for interior design. Eversince I was a kid, I've always loved decorating our house and sketching houses. And it's a dream for me to become one of the best interior designers in the country.

list bulletAbout my college education: Over-all, studying Interior Design is really challenging and fun at the same time. It's a really a test of putting your imaginations into concrete designs. Doing plates requires a lot of time, and most of the times, sleep is sacrificed just to finish a plate. To succeed in this course, one must have the passion for it. Come with this passion are patience and perseverance. If you're not patient with what you do, then you cannot come up with a satisfying work.

list bulletMy current job: I am working as a design consultant in a construction firm. I also work as part-time interior designer for other clients.

list bulletAm I using what I learned in college: I am really thankful for my school and my professors for everything they have taught me back in school. I'm now applying everything I have learned, from doing floor plans, applying ergonometrics, and designing in a scientific point of view.

list bulletHow long did it take to find a job: I got the job right after I graduated. The company is in need of a design consultant and I took my chance and got myself the position.

list bulletDo I recommend studying Interior Design: I would recommend this course to everyone who has a passion for it. A lot of career opportunities await, from designing houses, offices, hospitals, airports, mall window displays, the options are limitless. Every project is different with another since you're dealing with different clients. As for the salary, let's just say the bigger the project the bigger the compensation.

list bulletAdvice to people who are thinking of studying this course: If you're planning to take up Interior Design, be prepared for sleepless nights. Patience could really help you go a long way. There would be times when you'll run out of ideas due to lack of sleep but always find a way to keep your ideas flowing. If this could be any of help, take vitamins as well. :)
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