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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Wilmington DE

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Wilmington DE, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Wilmington DE

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Wilmington DE may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Wilmington DE. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Delaware vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Wilmington Delaware interior designer bathroomNow that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Wilmington DE home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Wilmington Delaware employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Wilmington DE school you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Delaware or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Wilmington DE business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Wilmington DE colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid 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 program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Wilmington DE schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Wilmington home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out 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, verify that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Wilmington DE, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Wilmington Delaware

interior designed kitchen in Wilmington DelawareSelecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wilmington Delaware.