How to Choose an Interior Designer Program near West Haven Connecticut
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near West Haven CT, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working 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 taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in West Haven CT can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design 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 produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, West Haven CT interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in West Haven CT. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as 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 sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Connecticut community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to study in the convenience of their West Haven CT homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college 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 acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your West Haven CT residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. 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 in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many West Haven CT employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the West Haven CT college you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Connecticut or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools 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 indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of West Haven CT business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the West Haven CT schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
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. Find out from the West Haven CT colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your West Haven home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near West Haven CT, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in West Haven CT?
West Haven, Connecticut
Settled in 1648, West Haven (then known as West Farms) was a part of the original New Haven Colony. In 1719, it became the separate parish of West Haven, but was still officially a part of New Haven until 1822.
During the American Revolution, West Haven was the frequent launch and arrival point for raiding parties on both sides of the war. On July 5, 1779, the British invaded New Haven Harbor and came ashore in West Haven and East Haven. Thomas Painter, a teenaged militiaman watching for the approaching British ships while standing atop Savin Rock, is depicted on the city seal. The main commercial street, Campbell Avenue, is named for British Adjutant William Campbell, at the time an ensign in the Third Guards, who rescued the Reverend Noah Williston, the local Congregational minister and outspoken revolutionary, from being bayoneted by British and Hessian troopers, after he broke his leg trying to escape his captors. Campbell then ordered the soldiers to help the minister back to the parsonage and had the regimental surgeon set his leg. Campbell is also credited with keeping the troops in reasonably good order during their march through the village and reportedly had two soldiers arrested after a local woman accused them of stealing her jewelry. Campbell was killed hours later atop Allingtown Hill on his way to New Haven by a local farmer-turned defender. Campbell is buried in the Allingtown section of town off Prudden Street. Patriot victims of the invasion are buried in the Christ Church and First Society Cemetery. A historical headstone marks Campbell's approximate gravesite and is maintained by the West Haven Historical Society.
While West Haven again attempted to incorporate as its own town in 1784, that attempt failed, primarily due to the protests of neighboring Milford, which opposed North Milford becoming part of the new town. West Haven and North Milford tried again in 1786 and 1787 with the same result. The two finally joined to become Orange (incorporated as a town in 1822). In 1921, West Haven split from Orange to become a separate town. It was incorporated as a city in 1961 and is known as "Connecticut's Youngest City", but it is ironically one of the state's oldest settlements.
Find the Best Interior Design School near West Haven CT
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in West Haven CT.
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