How to Find an Interior Design Degree Program near Richmond Missouri
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Richmond MO, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some 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 crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator in Richmond MO if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Richmond MO typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, Richmond MO designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design in Richmond MO that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain 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 to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Richmond MO.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Richmond MO area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets 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 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 offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no Richmond MO area interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased 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 programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your Richmond MO area college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s important to confirm 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program 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 may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Richmond MO employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of states do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those states mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Richmond MO college you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Missouri or the state where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained 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 so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Richmond MO area business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of Richmond MO area interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Richmond MO programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the Richmond MO interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Ideal Interior Design Certification Training near Richmond MissouriSelecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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