How to Choose an Interior Design Program near Andover Connecticut
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Andover CT, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator in Andover CT if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Andover CT typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, Andover CT designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design in Andover CT that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Andover CT.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Andover CT area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no Andover CT area interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your Andover CT area college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Andover CT employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several states do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those states mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Andover CT program you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Connecticut or the state where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Andover CT area business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of Andover CT area interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Andover CT schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the Andover CT interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Right Interior Designer Certification Training near Andover ConnecticutChoosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to recieve an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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