How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Program near Upper Fairmount Maryland
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Upper Fairmount MD, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will address those issues 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 class options are offered.
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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Upper Fairmount MD can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate 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. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Upper Fairmount MD interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Upper Fairmount MD. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Maryland vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly 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 three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Upper Fairmount MD homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure 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 schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Upper Fairmount MD home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Upper Fairmount MD employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Upper Fairmount MD school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Maryland or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Upper Fairmount MD business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Upper Fairmount MD colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Upper Fairmount MD programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Upper Fairmount home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Upper Fairmount MD, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Interior Design Certification Programs Upper Fairmount MD
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Interior Design Certification Programs and wanted more info on the topic Education Needed For Interior Design. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Upper Fairmount MD.
Other Maryland Designer Locations
Upper Fairmount, Maryland
Upper Fairmount is an unincorporated community in Somerset County, Maryland, United States. It is located at the intersection of Maryland Route 361 (Fairmount Road) and Upper Hill Road. The Academy Grove Historic District, Maddux House, Schoolridge Farm, Tudor Hall, and Upper Fairmount Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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