How to Select an Interior Designer School near Kingston Georgia
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Kingston GA, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Kingston GA if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Kingston GA typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, Kingston GA designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design in Kingston GA that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Kingston GA.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Kingston GA area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no Kingston GA area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your Kingston GA area college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Kingston GA employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those states mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Kingston GA college you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Georgia or the state where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Kingston GA area business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of Kingston GA area interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Kingston GA programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the Kingston GA interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Interior Design College near Kingston GeorgiaSelecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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