How to Pick an Interior Designer Degree Program near Wood Ridge New Jersey
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Wood Ridge NJ, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Wood Ridge NJ can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Wood Ridge NJ interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Wood Ridge NJ. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous New Jersey trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical 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 achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 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 some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the comfort of their Wood Ridge NJ homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Wood Ridge NJ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Wood Ridge NJ employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Wood Ridge NJ school you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for New Jersey or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Wood Ridge NJ business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Wood Ridge NJ colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Wood Ridge NJ programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Wood Ridge home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Wood Ridge NJ, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Wood Ridge NJ?
Wood-Ridge, New Jersey
Wood-Ridge is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 7,626, reflecting a decline of 18 (-0.2%) from the 7,644 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 138 (+1.8%) from the 7,506 counted in the 1990 Census.
Wood-Ridge was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on December 6, 1894, from portions of Bergen Township, based on the results of a referendum held the previous day. The borough was formed during the "Boroughitis" phenomenon then sweeping through Bergen County, in which 26 boroughs were formed in the county in 1894 alone.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.097 square miles (2.842 km2), including 1.097 square miles (2.841 km2) of land and <0.001 square miles (<0.001 km2) of water (0.01%).
Enroll in the Ideal Interior Design School near Wood Ridge NJ
Choosing the right interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to recieve an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wood Ridge NJ.
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