How to Choose an Interior Design College near Middletown Rhode Island
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Middletown RI, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s important that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s crucial that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 options are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Middletown RI can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Middletown RI interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Middletown RI. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Rhode Island vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Middletown RI homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Middletown RI home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Middletown RI employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School 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 as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Middletown RI college you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Rhode Island or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Middletown RI business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Middletown RI colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Middletown RI schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Middletown home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Middletown RI, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Middletown RI?
Middletown, Rhode Island
Middletown is a town in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 16,150 at the 2010 census. It lies to the south of Portsmouth and to the north of Newport on Aquidneck Island, hence the name "Middletown".
Various issues including unjust taxation and a growing population caused the freeholders living in the northern section of Newport to petition the general assembly for independence. As a result of the petition, the land that Middletown occupies was set apart in 1731. The town was incorporated in 1743.
During the 1980s, large sections of East Main Road and West Main Road running through Middletown began to be commercialized, and by the late 1990s, the area had become Aquidneck Island's central business district.
Pick the Right Interior Design School near Middletown RI
Selecting the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Middletown RI.
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