How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College West Palm Beach 33401
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near West Palm Beach FL, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in West Palm Beach FL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, West Palm Beach FL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in West Palm Beach FL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many Florida trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such 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 programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five 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, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to study in the convenience of their West Palm Beach FL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your West Palm Beach FL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national 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 an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many West Palm Beach FL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the West Palm Beach FL school you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Florida or the State where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, 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 profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of West Palm Beach FL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the West Palm Beach FL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small 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. Find out from the West Palm Beach FL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your West Palm Beach home, visit the college and monitor 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near West Palm Beach FL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in an Interior Design School near West Palm Beach FL?
Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the West Palm Beach Florida area. If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.
West Palm Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach is a city in and the county seat of Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. It is located immediately to the west of the adjacent Palm Beach, which is situated on a barrier island across the Lake Worth Lagoon. The population was 100,343 (revised) at the 2010 census. West Palm Beach is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,158,824 people in 2017.
It is the oldest incorporated municipality in Greater Miami, having been incorporated as a city two years before Miami in November 1894. West Palm Beach is located approximately 68 miles (109 km) north of Downtown Miami.
The beginning of the historic period in south Florida is marked by Juan Ponce de León's first contact with native people in 1513. Europeans found a thriving native population, which they categorized into separate tribes: the Mayaimi in the Lake Okeechobee Basin and the Jaega and Ais people in the East Okeechobee area and on the east coast north of the Tequesta. When the Spanish arrived, there were perhaps about 20,000 Native Americans in south Florida. By 1763, when the English gained control of Florida, the native peoples had all but been wiped out through war, enslavement, or European diseases.
Find the Ideal Interior Design School near West Palm Beach FL
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in Interior Design Colleges. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in West Palm Beach FL.
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