Do You Need a License to Design?

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  1. Here is the problem. Just because you have a license does not mean you are a talented designer. Just because you have a certification does not mean you are a talented stager. It means you can read and pass tests.

    Industries make money off of creating programs for stagers and creating
    “certifications”. Who certified the creators of these programs? Don’t get me wrong. I applaud private industry and the very smart creators of these programs who are making a nice living teaching them.However, I don’t believe for one minute that someone with no design background who goes through a course and receives a certification can compete with someone who has been in the field for years, working without a certification or license for whatever reason. Maybe they “trained” under an excellent designer and could simply not afford to take expensive courses. Maybe they spent years as set designers in film or photography and switched fields. Maybe an interior designer switched to staging. Does that licensed designer need further “certification”?

    What is the bottom line? Competition cannot be ignored. Of course someone who paid big money doesn’t want to compete with someone who is working and did not. Standards and practices are the most important reasons that crop up during these discussions.l I can tell you from experience that a license or certification is not a guarantee that an individual will follow standards and practices or have professional ethics. The best recourse in any industry is membership in a member governed trade organization. For stagers that would be RESA, the Real Estate Staging Association. This group welcomes people from every background, not just those who have been through a course.

  2. Every country has its own legal application regarding their laws, but on this interior section its an good but that does not mean that after a legal certification you are a talented interior service provider, i apologies for this…. but its true some one has his talent but due to certification he or she can not get occupied that a very bad thing. The one thing to get determined while we declared a law we have to think about that after effect. Thanks for this post.

  3. Michael

    What ever happened to good old fashoned competition in the marketplace? I believe we rely too heavily on licenses and certifications to bring us business. What we should be focusing on is not how many letters we have after our name (which generally only prove that the person has paid some “certification board” a nice fee and took a few online courses), but rather who gets the job done the best.
    “Decorating” should not require any kind of license. “Designing” to me seems to be the same as decorating, however, anyone being paid to change the interior structure of a home or any other building (anything requiring electrical, plumbing, or demolishion) should indeed be required to be fully trained and licensed.

  4. Kria

    All this is about is limiting or controling who gets to do what when and how.

    I agree with Karen. The scope of work that they tend to do is not dangerous or even potentially dangerous… Just use someone that has a good eye… who needs the license!!! Let the most talented person have the jobs!

  5. Seriously, only those who keep thinking up these “ceritifications” and required “licenses” are the ones who are getting the most benefit from it. In agreement with Michael that unless one is changing the structure (walls, plumbing, electrical), licensing shouldn’t be required – designers would hire that out anyway (hopefully to a licensed person). Taking courses would be nice, but shouldn’t be a requirement. An individual should LOOK for someone who has some education in the field, but I certainly don’t think it’s a priority to have a license. The way the world is going (or is it just the USA), it’s going to require a license to do anything, except be on welfare.

  6. I have been a “designer” for over 30 years. I have many letters behind the name on my business card. Other than obtaining a staging professional designation, none of the other designations have a thing to do with designing. I have designed hundreds of homes because I have a God-given talent. I have worked alongside architects in designing luxury condominium buildings and decorated my real estate clients’ homes. No piece of paper is going to make that talent more exceptional than the next person. You’ve either “got it” or you don’t. If you aren’t busy, well…I’m sorry. Promote yourselves. A license? I’ll still be working while those “elite” designers are worrying about getting a license. I have hundreds of raving fans and repeat clients. I promise you, like Connie and Michael said, good designers will hire professionals to move the walls, plumbing, electrical). I wish you all the best and I know each one of you are dynamite!

  7. Heather

    Wow….people really think there is no danger in interior design? This just proves there is a need for licensing…..

    I am an insurance agent and I work entirely with design professionals: architects, engineers, interior designers, etc. ID absolutely DOES have risks. It is one of the lower risk categories, but there IS risk. I’ve had clients sued because they hung a painting or directed a painting to be hung and it fell and broke someone’s marble countertop. If the painting can do that to marble what do you think it would do to someone’s head?

    How about designing the interior space of an office? What if your plans cause someone to get trapped in the office during a fire? What if the drapery or wall hangings you recommend turn out to be highly flamable or contain a chemical that causes illness? There was a time asbestos and lead were used regularly in building and desiging materials. How about mold? What about weight? What if you’re desiging an office space for a lawyer on the fourth floor of an older building and you recommend an opulent marble or granite desk and it turns out the structural design didn’t account for something that heavy and it falls through the aging floor into a unit below? Until recently structural specification requirements were much more lax and the structural designer can’t be sued for not anticipating that in the future someone might put a very heavy desk in the unit. The ID needs to be aaware of what the structure can handle before recommending any materials.

    There is a lot of risk involved in ID, don’t fool yourself by believing there isn’t.

  8. Theresa

    This comment from Gavriella Fiedler, president of Interior Dimensions in Harrisburg, is the problem with America today. I do not care how much training or education that you have. I want the one who will provide the best work, and when it comes to design you either have the talent or you don’t. Honestly, the part that upset me the most in this inconceivable nonsense that she spoke of “Without a license, anyone who has a good flair for putting colors and furniture arrangements together can call themselves a designer.” Ummm, yes because they have a NATURAL talent. America was built on talents and skills and not $200,000 educations that many people just can’t afford. Lastly, “I shouldn’t have to compete for the same small piece of the pie in the same geographic area with someone who hasn’t had any formal training,” said Gavriella Fiedler. Again, embarrissing that she even said that. Why should you not have to compete? Just because you were able to attend a college does not entitle you to anything. Your talent, work ethic, and drive are the only qualities that should matter, especially in any type of artistic employment. I am not down playing a college education. I agree it is something great to have accomplished, but that should not be a deciding factor for a job, and just because you have that BA hanging up in your office does NOT entitle you to anything except for being proud of your accomplishment. When I am interviewing an interior designer for my show homes the only things I care about are their TALENTS and WORK ETHICS!

    Gavriella Fiedler, president of Interior Dimensions in Harrisburg, told The Patriot-News she was in favor of the licensing requirement for interior designers. “Without a license, anyone who has a good flair for putting colors and furniture arrangements together can call themselves a designer,” Fiedler told The Patriot-News. “I shouldn’t have to compete for the same small piece of the pie in the same geographic area with someone who hasn’t had any formal training.”

  9. As a photographer I compete with people who are “soccer mom’s” who think they have a good eye for photography. The quote from Gavriella Fiedler “Without a license, anyone who has a good flair for putting colors and furniture arrangements together can call themselves a designer,” Fiedler told The Patriot-News. “I shouldn’t have to compete for the same small piece of the pie in the same geographic area with someone who hasn’t had any formal training.” is the reality of owning your own business.

    We need to pass the budget and not worrying about putting another license fee for a business that does not need to be regulated. It would like telling photographers that they needed a license to have a photography business. Photography business as with interior design business’s are separated by value and quality.