How to Pick an Interior Designer Course near Melrose Park Illinois
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Melrose Park IL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s vital that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Melrose Park IL if they possess a general 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Melrose Park IL often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, Melrose Park IL designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design in Melrose Park IL that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available near Melrose Park IL.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Melrose Park IL area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent 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 some students online schools may be the sole option if no Melrose Park IL area interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire 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 program may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your Melrose Park IL area college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Melrose Park IL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those states mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Melrose Park IL school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Melrose Park IL area business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of Melrose Park IL area interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Melrose Park IL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the Melrose Park IL interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Right Interior Design Certification Training near Melrose Park IllinoisSelecting the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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