How to Choose an Interior Design Degree Program near Laurelville Ohio
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Laurelville OH, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator in Laurelville OH if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Laurelville OH often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, Laurelville OH designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design in Laurelville OH that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Laurelville OH.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Laurelville OH area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no Laurelville OH area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your Laurelville OH area college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Laurelville OH employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some states do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Laurelville OH school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Ohio or the state where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Laurelville OH area business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of Laurelville OH area interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Laurelville OH programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the Laurelville OH interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending 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, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Laurelville OhioChoosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training 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 an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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