How to Select an Interior Design College near Whittier North Carolina
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Whittier NC, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other important 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 class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Whittier NC may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, 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 spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to 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, Whittier NC interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Whittier NC. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven 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, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous North Carolina vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain 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 provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many 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 a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Whittier NC homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Whittier NC residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Whittier NC employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Whittier NC program you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for North Carolina or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Whittier NC business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Whittier NC colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Whittier NC schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Whittier home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask 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? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Whittier NC, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Whittier NC?
Whittier, North Carolina
Whittier is an unincorporated community in Jackson and Swain counties in the western part of the U.S. state of North Carolina. Whittier is located on the Tuckasegee River, between Bryson City downstream to the west, and Dillsboro upstream to the southeast.
Founded in 1881 by Clark Whittier when he purchased 60,000 acres (240 km²) of land in the area, it was incorporated as a town from 1887 to 1933. The town declined following the collapse of the lumber industry during the Great Depression.
Find the Ideal Interior Design School near Whittier NC
Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Whittier NC.
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