How to Select an Interior Designer Program near Williamson West Virginia
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Williamson WV, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s very important that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Williamson WV can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Williamson WV interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Williamson WV. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many West Virginia trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools 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 Schools
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Williamson WV homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Williamson WV residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Williamson WV employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. 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 Williamson WV program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for West Virginia or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Williamson WV business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Williamson WV colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program 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 personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Williamson WV schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Williamson home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Williamson WV, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Williamson WV?
Williamson, West Virginia
Williamson is a city in Mingo County, West Virginia, United States, along the Tug Fork River. The population was 3,191 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Mingo County, and is the county's largest and most populous city. Williamson is home to Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. The Tug Fork River separates Williamson from South Williamson, Kentucky.
Williamson is the site of a large rail yard built by the former Norfolk and Western Railroad (now Norfolk Southern Railway), which was built to service the many coal mines of the region. The city is protected by a floodwall, completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1991 in response to devastating floods along the Tug Fork River in 1977 and again in 1984. The wall incorporates floodgates along major access points which, when locked, form a solid barrier against floodwaters. There have only been two uses of the gates thus far: the first occurring in 2002 during a major flood in the region, and the second occurring in 2003, when only two lower lying gates were closed in anticipation of rising water levels.
Williamson was incorporated in 1892. Most historians believe that Williamson was named in honor of Wallace J. Williamson. He owned the land where Williamson now stands, earned a fortune in real estate investments in the area, and founded the city's first bank and its first hotel. Others claim that the city was named for Wallace's father, Benjamin F. Williamson. He owned most of the land in the region before dividing it among his sons.
Pick the Right Interior Design School near Williamson WV
Choosing the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Williamson WV.
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