How to Select an Interior Designer College near Columbus Indiana
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Columbus IN, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Columbus IN if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Columbus IN typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, Columbus IN designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design in Columbus IN that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Columbus IN.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Columbus IN area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending 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 colleges may be the sole alternative if no Columbus IN 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 commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your Columbus IN area school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Columbus IN employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of states do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those states mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Columbus IN college you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Indiana or the state where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Columbus IN area business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of Columbus IN area interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Columbus IN programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the Columbus IN interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active 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 attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Best Interior Designer School near Columbus IndianaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal 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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