How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program Ashford Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Ashford AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. 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 class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Ashford AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Ashford AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Ashford AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Ashford AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy 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 many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Ashford AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Ashford AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Ashford AL college you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Ashford AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Ashford AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small 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. Ask the Ashford AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Ashford home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ashford AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Ashford Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ashford AL.