How to Find the Right Interior Designer School Ardmore Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Ardmore AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Ardmore AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Ardmore AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Ardmore AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use 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 field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Ardmore AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Ardmore AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Ardmore AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Ardmore AL college you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Ardmore AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Ardmore AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Ardmore AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Ardmore home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ardmore AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Ardmore Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining 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 quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ardmore AL.