How to Select the Right Interior Design School Westchester 60154
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Westchester IL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you get the right 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 could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s very important that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will discuss 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 class choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Westchester IL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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 example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Westchester IL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Westchester IL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose 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) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Illinois community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly 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 creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply 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. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For anyone wishing’ to study in the convenience of their Westchester IL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Westchester IL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s essential to verify 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Westchester IL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Westchester IL college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Illinois or the State where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Westchester IL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Westchester IL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide 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 imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Westchester IL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Westchester home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Westchester IL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Westchester IL?
Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the Westchester Illinois area. If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.
The area now known as Westchester was occupied by German farmers dating back to the mid-19th century. Samuel Insull purchased the land in 1924 with plans to recreate an English-style town. As a result, the town's name and the majority of its street names are of English origin.
The Great Depression slowed construction in the ensuing decade, although the population continued to grow, largely aided by the presence of the western terminal of Chicago's rapid transit line. The extension of the line was removed in 1951. However, the Interstate Highway System's creation in 1956 led to the construction of nearby expressways I-290 and I-294, providing residents with convenient travel.
As of the census of 2010, there were 16,718 people residing in the village. The racial makeup of the village was 65.9% White, 14.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, 3.9% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.9% of the population.
Choose the Ideal Interior Design School near Westchester IL
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in Interior Design Trade Schools. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Westchester IL.
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