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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Wilmington DE

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

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 talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking 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 training options are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Wilmington DE

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Wilmington DE can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Wilmington Delaware interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Options

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Wilmington DE. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Delaware vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

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 Designer Colleges

After you have chosen 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 factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Wilmington DE home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation 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 as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Wilmington Delaware 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 require 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Wilmington DE college you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Delaware or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Wilmington DE business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Wilmington DE schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college 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 intimate and conducive to one on one 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 typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Wilmington home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Wilmington DE, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Wilmington Delaware

interior designed kitchen in Wilmington DelawareSelecting the right interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wilmington Delaware.