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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Wilmington DE

How to Choose the Best Interior Designer School

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Wilmington DE, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will cover 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Wilmington DE

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Wilmington DE 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, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Wilmington Delaware interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Wilmington DE. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Delaware community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order 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 some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Wilmington DE student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Wilmington DE residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Wilmington Delaware employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Wilmington DE school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Wilmington DE business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Wilmington DE schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Wilmington DE programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Wilmington home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Wilmington DE, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Wilmington Delaware

interior designed kitchen in Wilmington DelawarePicking the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out 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 programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wilmington Delaware.