In order to become an interior designer in Israel, you can pursue an academic degree or take a certification course:
Academic route: Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design (B.design-interior).
A Bachelor of Design degree equips the graduate with skills and knowledge, including workshops and hands-on experience, useful for a wide variety of roles in the field of interior design and other related positions. With a Bachelors degree in interior design, options like apprenticeship positions with leading designers in Israel are made possible.
Here are a few examples of academic institutes, with departments in Interior Design:
While taking this course will not provide you with the same qualifications as a graduate with a B.design degree, it is an easier route and is recognized in the market. Here are a few examples of certification courses:
- 6b מכינה לעיצוב ולימודי עיצוב (Hebrew language site)
- ‘Come and Work Courses’ for Haredi women, Phone: 02-587-9489, Courses are offered in Beitar, Bnei Brak, Jerusalem and Modiin
- Maalot Israeli Track, Phone: 02-654-4555
- List of interior design courses that are recognized by Misrad Haavodah and are subsidized by Misrad HaKlita.
Interview with an Interior Designer
Special thanks to Ruby Ray Karzen, professional interior designer, for contributing her time and sharing her experiences.
What education do I need in order to work as an interior designer?
No formal education is needed to practice interior design in Israel. There is, however, formal education offered at a few colleges in Jerusalem including Emunah, Touro and Hadassah.
What does interior design in Israel encompass?
Interior design is more than just knowing “colors”. In order to be successful, you need to be knowledgeable about EVERYTHING related to design (color, style, practicality etc.) PLUS you need to be very hands-on. Interior design in Israel includes everything from taking clients to stores, helping them select items with your expertise, arranging installation, checking in with them for satisfaction, etc. The more you know, the better — kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, storage… A large part of the job is NETWORKING — finding the right places to shop and the right people to collaborate with, people you can trust will do a good job at a fair price.
Is knowledge of Hebrew necessary?
It is essential! Many store owners, contractors, etc. that you will need to connect with will NOT know English.
What is the market like?
There is a market for interior design, generally in the larger cities of Israel (Tel Aviv, Jerusalem). Most likely, the majority of your clients will be American. The market can be tough to break into at first. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising. Formal advertising generally isn’t very helpful.
Good customer service is a MUST. Always check in for satisfaction and take care of all the final touches. Finishing each job is absolutely essential — the devil is in the details … there are jobs that are basically finished and then it takes another month to TRULY finish, as the last details are not yet finalized and one small problem will prevent you from retiring the file.
What is good advice for people just starting out in the field in Israel?
A good place to start is doing friends’ places for free and relying on word of mouth for advertising purposes. Get business cards and pass them out. Try to arrange to shadow an established designer for a while. Make connections for yourself at workshops, etc. Also, work on improving your Hebrew.
Do I need a car?
Having a car is essential as well. You will need to drive clients to different places, pick up materials, return materials etc.
How do you feel (in general terms) about working as an interior designer in Israel?
I am proud to be part of a profession that truly makes a difference. Jerusalem is a beautiful city and I help to make it even more wonderful. When a job is completed, I look around at it one more time and think to myself that this is one more link in the beautification of Israel and then I close the door, ready to tackle the next challenge.
Ruby Ray Karzen holds a degree from the Parsons School of Interior Design in New York and is an ASID Certified Interior Designer with over two decades of professional experience in Israel. She has extensive experience working with architects, directing construction, remodeling interiors and acquiring art and antiques, and she has lectured on radio and television discussing aspects of Interior Design. In addition, Ruby currently gives lectures and does consultations on the practice of Feng Shui. Her work has been featured in various newspapers and magazines, and she is the founder of the Jerusalem School of Interior Design for English speakers.