How to Select the Right Interior Design Program Ballplay Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Ballplay AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent 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 taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Ballplay AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Ballplay AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Ballplay AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Ballplay AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Ballplay AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Ballplay AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Ballplay AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Ballplay AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Ballplay AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Ballplay AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Ballplay home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ballplay AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Ballplay Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance 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 ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ballplay AL.