How to Find an Interior Design Degree Program near Suitland Maryland
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Suitland MD, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Suitland MD may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Suitland MD interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Suitland MD. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick 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 descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Maryland trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs 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 technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives 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 programs are mainly 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 three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the comfort of their Suitland MD homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Suitland MD home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Suitland MD employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Suitland MD program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Maryland or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Suitland MD business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Suitland MD schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Suitland MD schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Suitland home, go to the campus and monitor 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 approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Suitland MD, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Suitland MD?
Suitland is an unincorporated community and census designated place (CDP) in Prince George's County, Maryland, about 1 mile (1.6 km) southeast of Washington, D.C. As of the 2010 census, the population of the CDP was 25,825. Prior to 2010, Suitland was part of the Suitland-Silver Hill census-designated place.
In the 1600s, the Piscataway tribe inhabited the lands in southern Maryland. European settlers first visited Saint Clement's Island on the Potomac River and then established their first Maryland colony downriver at Saint Mary's City in 1634, and by the 1660s through the 1680s, settlers had moved into what is now known as Prince George's County. Faced with this encroachment, the Piscataways left the area in 1697, and moved north to what is now known as Conoy Island. They eventually moved further north into Pennsylvania and Michigan. The sole export of the European settlers was tobacco, and slaves were first brought to the county in the 1700s.
Prior to the American Civil War, tobacco production had made Prince George's County one of the wealthiest counties in Maryland, and half of the county's population was enslaved. After the war, old plantations were broken up and replaced by communities centered on small farming and country villages.
Select the Right Interior Design School near Suitland MD
Picking the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to recieve a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Suitland MD.
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