How to Pick an Interior Designer Program near Wilmette Illinois
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Wilmette IL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Wilmette IL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to 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 principles, Wilmette IL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Wilmette IL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter 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 mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Illinois vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices 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 programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five 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 an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to study in the convenience of their Wilmette IL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Wilmette IL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Wilmette IL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Wilmette IL college you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Wilmette IL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Wilmette IL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Wilmette IL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Wilmette home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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? Last, verify that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Wilmette IL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Wilmette IL?
Wilmette is a village in New Trier Township, Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is located 14 miles (23 km) north of Chicago's downtown district (4 mi or 6 km from Chicago's northern border) and had a population at the 2010 census of 27,087. Wilmette is considered a bedroom community in the North Shore region. In 2007, Wilmette was ranked as the seventh best place to raise children in the U.S., according to Business Week. In 2015, Wilmette was ranked the best place to live in Illinois based on a variety of factors including its low unemployment rate, median income, low housing vacancy rate, high education expenditures per student, low crime, and short commute times. Wilmette is home to 2 of Illinois' 17 elementary schools (Romona Elementary, St. Joseph School) to be awarded the 2017 National Blue Ribbon award.
Wilmette is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan and is a near northern suburb of Chicago, immediately North of Evanston at 42°4′38″N 87°43′25″W / 42.07722°N 87.72361°W / 42.07722; -87.72361 (42.077178, -87.723736). The North Shore Channel drainage canal empties into Lake Michigan at Wilmette Harbor.
According to the 2010 census, Wilmette has a total area of 5.409 square miles (14.01 km2), of which 5.4 square miles (13.99 km2) (or 99.83%) is land and 0.009 square miles (0.02 km2) (or 0.17%) is water.
Enroll in the Ideal Interior Design School near Wilmette IL
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wilmette IL.
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