How to Choose an Interior Design College near West Point New York
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near West Point NY, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s important that you obtain the proper 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 essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in West Point NY may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, West Point NY interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in West Point NY. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous New York vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their West Point NY homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy 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 a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving 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 make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online 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 ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your West Point NY home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school 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 look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of West Point NY employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the West Point NY program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for New York or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of West Point NY business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the West Point NY colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the West Point NY colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your West Point home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near West Point NY, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in West Point NY?
West Point, New York
West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United States. Located on the Hudson River in New York, West Point was identified by General George Washington as the most important strategic position in America during the American Revolution. Until January 1778, West Point was not occupied by the military. On January 27, 1778, Brigadier General Samuel Holden Parsons and his brigade crossed the ice on the Hudson River and climbed to the plain on West Point and from that day to the present, West Point has been occupied by the United States Army. It comprises approximately 16,000 acres (6,500 ha) including the campus of the United States Military Academy, which is commonly called "West Point".
It is a Census Designated Place (CDP) located in the Town of Highlands in Orange County, New York, located on the western bank of the Hudson River. The population was 6,763 at the 2010 census. It is part of the New York–Newark–Jersey City, NY–NJ–PA Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark, NY–NJ–CT–PA Combined Statistical Area.
West Point (then Fort Clinton), was a fortified site during the Revolutionary War. Originally picked because of the abnormal S-curve in the Hudson River at this point, the defenses of West Point were designed by Polish military engineer Tadeusz Kościuszko, who served as a brigadier general in the Continental Army.
Choose the Ideal Interior Design School near West Point NY
Selecting the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected 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 properly review and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in West Point NY.
More Awesome Cities in New York
Business Results 1 - 10 of 351