How to Select an Interior Design College near Weston Connecticut
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Weston CT, it’s time to start 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 get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital 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 class options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Weston CT may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Weston CT interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Weston CT. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Connecticut community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Weston CT homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution 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 convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional 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 also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Weston CT home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training 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 Weston CT employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 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 Weston CT school you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Weston CT business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Weston CT colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Weston CT schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Weston home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Weston CT, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Weston CT?
Weston is an affluent town in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The population was 10,179 at the 2010 census. The town is served by Route 57 and Route 53, both of which run through the town center. About 19% of the town's workforce commutes to New York City, about 45 miles (72 km) to the southwest.
Like many towns in southwestern Connecticut, Weston is among the most affluent communities in the United States. Data collected in 2011 showed that Weston had the highest median household income in Fairfield County, Connecticut, at US$205,173. In 2011 Connecticut Magazine named Weston as the number one town in Connecticut among towns with populations of 10,000–15,000. The rating considers education, crime, economy, cost and leisure.
Aside from a handful of stores that form the town’s center, Weston has little commercial development and residential development is limited by two-acre zoning. Most of Devil's Den Preserve, a 1,746-acre (707 ha) nature reserve, which gets 40,000 visits a year, is located in the town.
Pick the Ideal Interior Design School near Weston CT
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Weston CT.
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