How to Find an Interior Design College near Victoria Illinois
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Victoria IL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Victoria IL if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Victoria IL often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, Victoria IL designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design in Victoria IL that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Victoria IL.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Victoria IL area community colleges and vocational schools. 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 cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to study in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no Victoria IL area interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your Victoria IL area college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry 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 college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Victoria IL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of states do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those states mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Victoria IL program you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance 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 regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Victoria IL area business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of Victoria IL area interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Victoria IL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the Victoria IL interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Victoria IllinoisChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to recieve a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
Some Additional Cities of Interest in Illinois