How to Select an Interior Design College near Robesonia Pennsylvania
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Robesonia PA, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Robesonia PA if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working 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 work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Robesonia PA often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, Robesonia PA designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design in Robesonia PA that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession. Your choice will no doubt be influenced 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 choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Robesonia PA.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Robesonia PA area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no Robesonia PA area interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program 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 earn 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 setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your Robesonia PA area school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Robesonia PA employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those states mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Robesonia PA program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Robesonia PA area business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of Robesonia PA area interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting 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 Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Robesonia PA schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the Robesonia PA interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend 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, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Interior Design School near Robesonia PennsylvaniaPicking the right interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to recieve a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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