How to Pick an Interior Design Degree Program near Watonga Oklahoma
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Watonga OK, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s crucial that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Watonga OK if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Watonga OK typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, Watonga OK designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design in Watonga OK that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as 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 choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available near Watonga OK.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Watonga OK area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no Watonga OK area interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your Watonga OK area college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college 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, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Watonga OK employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those states mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Watonga OK college you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Oklahoma or the state where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Watonga OK area business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of Watonga OK area interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential 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 assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Watonga OK schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the Watonga OK interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Best Interior Designer School near Watonga OklahomaChoosing the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete 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 ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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