How to Select an Interior Design Course near West Stockbridge Massachusetts
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near West Stockbridge MA, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 training options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. 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 skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in West Stockbridge MA can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, West Stockbridge MA interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in West Stockbridge MA. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Massachusetts vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their West Stockbridge MA homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. 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 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. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your West Stockbridge MA residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of West Stockbridge MA employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the West Stockbridge MA school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Massachusetts or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of West Stockbridge MA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the West Stockbridge MA colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the West Stockbridge MA colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your West Stockbridge home, go to the campus and sit in on a few 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near West Stockbridge MA, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in West Stockbridge MA?
West Stockbridge, Massachusetts
West Stockbridge was first settled in 1766 and was officially incorporated in 1774. The town grew out of Stockbridge, formerly known as Indiantown, and was originally called Queensborough. The area was part of the disputed border between Massachusetts and New York, which eventually left the town in its current state. The town grew as five separate villages (West Center, West Stockbridge, Freedleyville, Rockdale and Williamsville), with West Stockbridge growing the largest because of the railroad, which hauled iron ore and marble. The town had an ironworks in Williamsville, founded by Colonel Elijah Williams, and the furnace smokestack is the only part which remains of the works.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.7 square miles (48.4 km2), of which 18.5 square miles (47.8 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 1.23%, is water.
West Stockbridge is bordered on the north by Richmond, on the east by Stockbridge, on the south by Great Barrington, on the southwest by Alford, and on the west by Austerlitz and Canaan, New York. West Stockbridge is 11 miles (18 km) south-southwest of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 50 miles (80 km) west-northwest of Springfield, 132 miles (212 km) west of Boston, and 36 miles (58 km) southeast of Albany, New York.
Pick the Ideal Interior Design School near West Stockbridge MA
Picking the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to recieve a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in West Stockbridge MA.
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