How to Select the Right Interior Design Program Abbeville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Abbeville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Abbeville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Abbeville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Abbeville AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ 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 mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Abbeville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make 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 learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Abbeville AL residence. 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 narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Abbeville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Abbeville AL program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering 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 school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Abbeville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Abbeville AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Abbeville AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Abbeville home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Abbeville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Right Abbeville Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out 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 ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Abbeville AL.