How to Choose the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Wheeling West Virginia
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Wheeling WV, 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 essential that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working 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 trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Wheeling WV may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, 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 take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Wheeling WV interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Wheeling WV. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be 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 accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many West Virginia community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing’ to study in the comfort of their Wheeling WV homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Wheeling WV home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. 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 available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Wheeling WV employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Wheeling WV college you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for West Virginia or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support 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 high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Wheeling WV business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Wheeling WV colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Wheeling WV colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Wheeling home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Wheeling WV, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Schools That Have Interior Design Majors Wheeling WV
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Schools That Have Interior Design Majors and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Degrees Near Me. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wheeling WV.
Other West Virginia Designer Locations
Wheeling, West Virginia
Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located almost entirely in Ohio County, of which it is the county seat, it lies along the Ohio River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Wheeling was originally a settlement in the British colony of Virginia and later an important city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Wheeling was the first state capital of West Virginia. Due to its location along major transportation routes, including the Ohio River, National Road, and the B&O Railroad, Wheeling became a manufacturing center in the late nineteenth century. After experiencing the closing of factories and substantial population loss following World War II, Wheeling's major industries now include healthcare, education, law and legal services, entertainment and tourism, and energy.
The origins of the name "Wheeling" are disputed. One of the more credible explanations is that the word comes from the Lenni-Lenape phrase wih link or wee lunk, which meant "place of the head" or "place of the skull." This name supposedly referred to a white settler who was scalped and decapitated. His severed head was displayed at the confluence of Wheeling Creek and the Ohio River. Native Americans had inhabited the area for thousands of years. In the 17th century, the Iroquois from present-day New York state conquered the upper Ohio Valley, pushing out other tribes and maintaining the area as their hunting ground.
Originally explored by the French, Wheeling still has a lead plate remnant that the explorer Céloron de Blainville buried in 1749 at the mouth of Wheeling Creek to mark his claim. Later, Christopher Gist and George Washington surveyed the land in 1751 and 1770, respectively.
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