How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course Ardmore Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Ardmore 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 essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Ardmore AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to 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 produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Ardmore AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Ardmore AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Ardmore AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Ardmore AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Ardmore AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Ardmore AL school you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Ardmore AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Ardmore AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Ardmore AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Ardmore home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ardmore AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Ardmore Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular 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 a number of factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ardmore AL.