How to Choose an Interior Design Program near Winston Oregon
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Winston OR, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal 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 Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Winston OR may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Winston OR interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Winston OR. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Oregon community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire 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 professionally 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 required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Winston OR homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Winston OR residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Winston OR employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Winston OR school you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Oregon or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Winston OR business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Winston OR schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Winston OR colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Winston home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Winston OR, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Winston OR?
Choose the Right Interior Design School near Winston OR
Choosing the right interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Winston OR.
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