Pursuing a Second Career in Interior Design

Q: I am 35 years old and a stay at home with two small
children. My undergraduate degree was in political science. It was a
degree that I never really used since I worked mostly in marketing and
non-profit fundraising before my children were born. I am now most
interested in interior design. Do I need to work on a second
undergraduate degree? The expense of such a program would be a hardship
for our family.

A: Congratulations on discovering what is interesting to you as the
next step in your career. I am thrilled that you have earned an
undergraduate degree.

A second undergraduate degree would be both time-consuming and
expensive. I would suggest that you research certificate programs in
interior design. It is a more practical way of formally educating
yourself and it will be quicker and less expensive to complete this type
of program vs. completing a second undergraduate degree.

Several local colleges offer certificate programs in interior design.
As an example, Massachusetts Bay Community College offers an interior
design certificate program which includes a nine course curriculum. The
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) also offers an interior design
certificate program also.

You could also gain valuable experience by beginning to work with an
experienced interior designer or working in a retail shop where interior
design services are offered. Not only will you gain experience, but
you will add professional contacts to your rolodex.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.