How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Abbeville Alabama
Now that 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 gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business 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 taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Abbeville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Abbeville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Abbeville AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Abbeville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Abbeville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Abbeville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Abbeville AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering 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 regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Abbeville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Abbeville AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, 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 practical from your Abbeville home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Abbeville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Abbeville Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Abbeville AL.