How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Argo Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Argo AL, it's time to start 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 receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing 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 work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Argo AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Argo AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Argo AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things 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. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Argo AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent 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 home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative 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 study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 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 program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Argo AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Argo AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Argo AL program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Argo AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Argo AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Argo AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Argo home, visit the college and attend a couple of 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night 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 alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Argo Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Argo AL.