How to Select an Interior Designer Course near Elmwood Illinois
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Elmwood IL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Elmwood IL if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Elmwood IL often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, Elmwood IL designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design in Elmwood IL that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted 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 required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available near Elmwood IL.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Elmwood IL area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no Elmwood IL area interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your Elmwood IL area school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 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 Elmwood IL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those states mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Elmwood IL college you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Illinois or the state where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Elmwood IL area business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of Elmwood IL area interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Elmwood IL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the college and attend 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the Elmwood IL interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Interior Design School near Elmwood IllinoisChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
Some Additional Cities of Interest in Illinois