How to Choose an Interior Designer College near Weston Massachusetts
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Weston MA, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial 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 be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Weston MA can specialize in:
- Residential Design. 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, 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 numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Weston MA interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Weston MA. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Massachusetts vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized 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 primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Weston MA homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Weston MA residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Weston MA employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Weston MA college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Massachusetts or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Weston MA business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Weston MA schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Weston MA programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Weston home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Weston MA, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Weston MA?
Weston is among the nation's 100 most expensive ZIP codes, with a median home price of well over $2 million. It is the only town in the Boston Area to have private roads, with state of the art police patrolling 24/7.
Despite a population of just 11,389, Weston's area is only slightly smaller than that of its neighbor town, Newton, Massachusetts which accounts for a much higher population of about 90,000. As a result, Weston's houses are on average much larger than those present in nearby towns, with considerable space between each individual residence. It has one of the lowest crime rates among Metro-west Boston suburbs.
Weston is located on a rugged upland plateau. Early settlers discovered that the amount of useful agricultural land was limited as was the waterpower potential in the town. But colonists moving in from Watertown in the mid-17th century established scattered farms in Weston, and by 1679, a sawmill, several taverns, some doctors, and according to the historians, "probably some lawyers," had settled in Weston.
Select the Best Interior Design School near Weston MA
Picking the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to recieve an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Weston MA.
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