How to Find an Interior Design College near Oostburg Wisconsin
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Oostburg WI, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Oostburg WI if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Oostburg WI often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, Oostburg WI designers often concentrate predominantly 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 emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design in Oostburg WI that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design 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 help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Oostburg WI.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Oostburg WI area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives 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. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically 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 several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to study in the comfort of their homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no Oostburg WI area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected 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 discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your Oostburg WI area college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field 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 instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Oostburg WI employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Oostburg WI school you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Wisconsin or the state where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance 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 graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Oostburg WI area business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of Oostburg WI area interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Oostburg WI schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the Oostburg WI interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Pick the Right Interior Designer Program near Oostburg WisconsinSelecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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