How to Select an Interior Designer Degree Program near Saunderstown Rhode Island
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Saunderstown RI, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Saunderstown RI can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Saunderstown RI interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Saunderstown RI. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Rhode Island trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty 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 programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing’ to study in the convenience of their Saunderstown RI homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed 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 practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Saunderstown RI home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college 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 excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Saunderstown RI employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as 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 excellent education, the Saunderstown RI college you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Rhode Island or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Saunderstown RI business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Saunderstown RI colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Saunderstown RI schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Saunderstown home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Saunderstown RI, make sure 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, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Saunderstown RI?
Saunderstown, Rhode Island
Saunderstown is known as the birthplace of artist Gilbert Stuart, who is best known for painting the portrait of George Washington that is portrayed on the one-dollar bill. The Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum consists of the house in which Stuart was born, a nature trail, and a functional gristmill, and is now open to the public as a museum. Saunderstown is also the location of Casey Farm, an 18th-century plantation that is now a family farm. The farm grows organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers in a Community Agriculture Program. It is operated by Historic New England.
The Saunderstown Historic District encompasses a section of Saunderstown which developed as a boatbuilding center and summer resort area in the late 19th century. It is centered on Ferry Road, Willett Road, and Waterway, between Boston Neck Road and Narragansett Bay. In addition to being home to a number of shipyards, several owned by members of the Saunders family, the area also became noted as a summer resort, hosting Benoni Lockwood and Frances Willing Wharton (a cousin to writer Edith Wharton), as well as the architect and artist Christopher Grant LaFarge, son of the famous artist John La Farge. This area is mainly residential, with wood frame houses one or two stories in height, with vernacular styling. Non-residential buildings include a country store, recreation center (which was formerly a fire barn), and the Saunderstown Post Office, which was built in 1902 as a Baptist church.
Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Saunderstown RI
Picking the right interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Saunderstown RI.
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