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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Wilmington DE

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Wilmington DE, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Wilmington DE

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Wilmington DE can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Wilmington Delaware interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Wilmington DE. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Delaware trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment 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 creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized 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. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Wilmington Delaware interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Wilmington DE home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Wilmington Delaware employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Wilmington DE program you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Delaware 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 probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Wilmington DE business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Wilmington DE schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately 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 one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Wilmington DE programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Wilmington home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Wilmington DE, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Wilmington Delaware

interior designed kitchen in Wilmington DelawarePicking the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wilmington Delaware.