How to Choose an Interior Designer College near Willimantic Connecticut
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Willimantic CT, 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 important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Willimantic CT may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Willimantic CT interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Willimantic CT. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Connecticut trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialty 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 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 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the convenience of their Willimantic CT homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Willimantic CT residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Willimantic CT employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Willimantic CT school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Connecticut or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Willimantic CT business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Willimantic CT colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Willimantic CT programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Willimantic home, go to the campus and monitor 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Willimantic CT, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Willimantic CT?
Willimantic is a census-designated place, former city and borough, and special-services district. It is located in the town of Windham in Windham County, Connecticut. The population was 17,737 at the 2010 census. It is home to Eastern Connecticut State University and the Windham Textile and History Museum. Willimantic was incorporated as a city in 1893; the city was superseded in 1983 by the Willimantic Special Services District/Willimantic CDP. It is also the birthplace of former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut.
Prior to 1821, the village was known as Willimantic Falls, home to about twenty families and a single school district. In 1822, Charles Lee erected a factory on Main Street made of stone quarried from the Willimantic River. Although small shops and manufacturers had been built on the banks of the Willimantic before, this was the beginning of industrialized Willimantic. In 1825, the three Jillson brothers built a factory along the Willimantic River, and in 1827, they built a second building. By 1828, there were six cotton factories in Willimantic, all built within a seven-year span. Willimantic became known as "Thread City" because American Thread Company had a mill on the banks of the Willimantic River, and was at one time the largest employer in the state as well as one of the largest producers of thread in the world. Its factory was the first in the world to use electric lighting. In 1833, Willimantic was a borough of Windham; in 1893, it would become a city.
From the end of the Civil War to the outbreak of World War II, Willimantic was a center for the production of silk and cotton thread. Immigrants from Europe arrived to work in the mills—Irish, Italians, Poles, Germans and French Canadians. Later, Estonian, Ukrainian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Puerto Rican immigrants moved to the town in search of mill jobs.
Choose the Ideal Interior Design School near Willimantic CT
Picking the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations 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 excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Willimantic CT.
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