How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College Argo Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Argo AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Some prospective 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 variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Argo AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Argo AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Argo AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of 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 vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Argo AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Argo AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Argo AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Argo AL school you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Argo AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Argo AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller 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 Argo AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Argo home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Argo AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Argo Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Argo AL.