How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program Camden Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Camden AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Camden AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently 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 focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Camden AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Camden AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of 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) exam mandated 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 training required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive 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 college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such 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. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Camden AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 college may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Camden AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, 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 Camden AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Camden AL school you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance 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 highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Camden AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Camden AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Camden AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Camden home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Camden AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Camden Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Camden AL.