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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Wilmington DE

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Wilmington DE, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some 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 do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, 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 Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Wilmington DE

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Wilmington DE may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Wilmington Delaware interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Wilmington DE. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Delaware community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Wilmington DE residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Wilmington Delaware employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Wilmington DE program you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Wilmington DE business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

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

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Wilmington DE programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Wilmington home, go to the school 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will 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, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Wilmington Delaware

interior designed kitchen in Wilmington DelawarePicking the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wilmington Delaware.