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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Wilmington DE

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Wilmington DE, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important 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 alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Wilmington DE

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary 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. 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Wilmington DE can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Wilmington DE. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Delaware community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

Wilmington Delaware interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Wilmington DE home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Wilmington Delaware employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Wilmington DE school you select should also furnish the proper 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Wilmington DE business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Wilmington DE colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Wilmington DE schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Wilmington home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will 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 available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Wilmington Delaware

interior designed kitchen in Wilmington DelawarePicking the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wilmington Delaware.