How to Pick an Interior Design Program near Woodruff South Carolina
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Woodruff SC, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. 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 and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Woodruff SC may specialize in:
- Residential Design. 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Woodruff SC interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Woodruff SC. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief 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 roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of South Carolina vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs 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 creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the comfort of their Woodruff SC homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient 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 cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Woodruff SC home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Woodruff SC employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Woodruff SC school you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for South Carolina 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 undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Woodruff SC business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Woodruff SC colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Woodruff SC colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Woodruff home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Woodruff SC, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Woodruff SC?
Woodruff, South Carolina
The earliest history of this area begins with the membership of the Church of Christ on Jamey's Creek dated September 18, 1787. The church was named for Jamey's Creek, now called Jimmie's Creek, which heads off McArthur Street behind the Woodruff State Branch Bank on North Main Street. The early members traveled some distance to attend this church. They were from the communities of Cavins, Enoree, Crescent, Switzer and even others in Laurens County. Most of the early settlers had come from Virginia and North Carolina. They were primarily veterans of the Revolution and their families.
Joseph Woodruff received a grant of 200 acres (81 ha), which would later become the site of the city of Woodruff. He came to this area from the Yadkin River valley in North Carolina after his service in the Revolution. The first census of Spartanburg District, in 1790, shows who his neighbors were. All of these people were farmers. There were a few country stores in those days, and these were supplied by "Wagoner's".
One of Joseph Woodruff's sons, Thomas, remained in the area and dreamed of founding a town, but he did not live to see Woodruff incorporated. His two sons, Dr. Charles Pinckney Woodruff and Captain A. B. Woodruff, were most instrumental in carrying out their father's wishes. Therefore, the town was named in Thomas Woodruff's honor.
Choose the Right Interior Design School near Woodruff SC
Choosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to recieve an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Woodruff SC.
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