How to Select an Interior Designer College near Whitehall Wisconsin
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Whitehall WI, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. 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 educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Whitehall WI may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Whitehall WI interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Whitehall WI. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Wisconsin trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Whitehall WI homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Whitehall WI home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Whitehall WI employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Whitehall WI school you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Wisconsin or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance 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 a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Whitehall WI business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Whitehall WI colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Whitehall WI programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Whitehall home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Whitehall WI, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Whitehall WI?
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,558 people, 665 households, and 382 families residing in the city. The population density was 556.4 inhabitants per square mile (214.8/km2). There were 741 housing units at an average density of 264.6 per square mile (102.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.9% White, 0.4% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 1.5% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.2% of the population.
There were 665 households of which 27.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.6% were non-families. 36.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.92.
The median age in the city was 42 years. 23.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.7% were from 25 to 44; 26.7% were from 45 to 64; and 19.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.
Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Whitehall WI
Picking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Whitehall WI.
More Awesome Cities in Wisconsin