How to Select an Interior Designer College near Woodstown New Jersey
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Woodstown NJ, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Woodstown NJ can 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must 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 concepts, Woodstown NJ interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Woodstown NJ. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select 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. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous New Jersey trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Woodstown NJ homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Woodstown NJ home. Obviously 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 expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s necessary to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Woodstown NJ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Woodstown NJ college you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for New Jersey 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 want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Woodstown NJ business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Woodstown NJ schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors 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 large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Woodstown NJ schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Woodstown home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain 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 going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Woodstown NJ, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Woodstown NJ?
Woodstown, New Jersey
Woodstown is a borough in Salem County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 3,505, reflecting an increase of 369 (+11.8%) from the 3,136 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 18 (−0.6%) from the 3,154 counted in the 1990 Census.
Woodstown was established on July 26, 1882, from portions of Pilesgrove Township based on the results of a referendum held that same day. The borough's incorporation was confirmed on March 3, 1925. The borough was named for early settler Jackanias (or Jaconias) Wood.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.625 square miles (4.209 km2), including 1.585 square miles (4.104 km2) of land and 0.040 square miles (0.105 km2) of water (2.49%).
Choose the Ideal Interior Design School near Woodstown NJ
Choosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations 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 Woodstown NJ.
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