If I graduate from an online interior design school that is accredited, will my degree be respected in the field” Am I missing out on anything by doing my courses online”
(submitted by Anonymous)
School desk versus virtual classroom” Having studied in both a traditional environment and via distance learning, and now teaching interior design in this non-traditional way, I am sympathetic to your dilemma”
As people”s lifestyles demand more flexible approaches in all areas, and organizations are making better use of online resources (using webinars for example), so the acceptance of such institutions is gaining ground. Whilst there is some resistance to accepting online qualifications as “proper”, people are also curious about such methods. Using this point of difference will work to your advantage, as it provides a great talking point at networking events.
You will also encounter admiration for your discipline at learning a subject in this manner. Self-motivation and determination are particularly key factors to success with this method of study. How better than to demonstrate these excellent qualities to future employers, than by showing you already have the necessary discipline.
As for what you might be missing via an online course” You should first compare the course curriculum to traditional schools. Software classes are generally not included, so you will need to budget these in, as it is essential you are up to date in this area. However, you will also be saving $$$$$, so should have the resources available to put a little into this.
There will probably not be an internship element either, so be aware that you will need to find practical work experience yourself. It is vital to get connected to the design industry as soon as you can, so make sure your selected course allows you to be eligible for student membership of a respected organization such as ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) or IIDA (International Interior Design Association). Similarly, if you plan on working within the U.S. you will probably also want to be able to gain the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification), so check this out too.
With online study there is also the obvious lack of traditional interaction with tutors and peers in the real world, so ask what access you will have to them in the virtual world. Are you able to e-mail your tutors as needed” Are there online forums you can chat with fellow students” What types of resources are available to you”
And before you make your final decision, you should talk with previous students, to ask them how they found the program and what they”re doing now. There”s no better proof than hearing of a former pupil”s success in the industry.
There are some obvious challenges to studying via online, but also some great advantages. By being aware of these and being proactive, you should succeed whichever method of study you choose. Good luck with your decision!