I think it's possible that Tim Lee's post hailing my post suggesting that licensing requirements for interior designers are too onerous may have overstated the extent to which this stance really is "at odds with lefty orthodoxy." After all, I got an approving link from Atrios. That said, he reminds me that it's instructive to actually look at the requirements. Here's New York State, where "To be licensed as a certified interior designer in New York State you must" do the following:

  • be at least 21 years of age
  • meet education and examination requirements
  • meet experience requirements
  • be of good moral character



And what are the education and experience requirements?

You must accrue at least seven years of acceptable education and experience credits, including the following:
  • At least two but no more than five years of postsecondary education in an approved program of interior design, including an associate degree or its equivalent; and
  • At least two years of interior design work experience satisfactory to the State Board for Interior Design. To be acceptable for licensure your practical experience must:
    • be under the direct supervision of an interior designer, architect, or professional engineer;
    • within the bounds of interior design practice as set forth in section 8303 of the Education Law, demonstrate diverse experience in all aspects of project planning and execution;
    • and reflect increased levels of professional growth.


On top of that, "You are required to pass all three sections of the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) Examination which is administered twice yearly in April and October." These are fairly onerous requirements and I think it's pretty clear that their main purpose, like that of the Guild policies of yore or a lot of what the American Medical Association does today, is to erect barriers to entry into the profession, which is good for existing interior designers.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.