How to Pick an Interior Designer Degree Program near Valdosta Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Valdosta GA, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. 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 begin? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires 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 various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Valdosta GA can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Valdosta GA interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Valdosta GA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Georgia vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade 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 two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional 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 examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Valdosta GA homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized 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 schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Valdosta GA residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 assessment of their teachers 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 assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Valdosta GA employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Valdosta GA school you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Georgia or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, 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 profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Valdosta GA business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Valdosta GA colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Valdosta GA programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Valdosta home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Valdosta GA, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Valdosta GA?
Valdosta is a city in and the county seat of Lowndes County, located on the southern border of Georgia, United States. As of 2013, Valdosta has a total population of 56,481, and is the 14th largest city in Georgia.
Valdosta is the home of Valdosta State University, a regional university in the University System of Georgia with over 10,900 students. The local public Valdosta High School has the most winning football program of any high school in the United States.
Valdosta was incorporated on December 7, 1860, when it was designated by the state legislature as the new county seat, formerly at nearby Troupville. The railroad was built to Valdosta that year, rather than Troupville, stimulating development in the new county seat. Many citizens of Troupville had already relocated to Valdosta when the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad was built four miles (about 6 km) away. On July 4, 1860, the engine known as Satilla No. 3 pulled the first train into Valdosta on the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad.
Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Valdosta GA
Selecting the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions 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 superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Valdosta GA.
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