How to Pick an Interior Design College near Penns Grove New Jersey
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Penns Grove NJ, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Penns Grove NJ if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, 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 trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Penns Grove NJ frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, Penns Grove NJ designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design in Penns Grove NJ that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of 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) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Penns Grove NJ.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Penns Grove NJ area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly 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 professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no Penns Grove NJ area interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick 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 education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your Penns Grove NJ area school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal 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 concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Penns Grove NJ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several states do mandate 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 program. And in several of those states calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Penns Grove NJ college you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for New Jersey or the state where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Penns Grove NJ area business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of Penns Grove NJ area interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative 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 offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Penns Grove NJ colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the Penns Grove NJ interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Ideal Interior Designer Degree Program near Penns Grove New JerseyPicking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to recieve an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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