How to Select the Right Interior Design Program Bayou La Batre Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Bayou La Batre AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Bayou La Batre AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Bayou La Batre AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Bayou La Batre AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical 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 provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Bayou La Batre AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Bayou La Batre AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Bayou La Batre AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Bayou La Batre AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Bayou La Batre AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Bayou La Batre AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Bayou La Batre AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bayou La Batre home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bayou La Batre AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Bayou La Batre Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bayou La Batre AL.