How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Camden Alabama
Once you have made a decision 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 commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Camden AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. 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, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. 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 integrating Feng shui principles, Camden AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new profession in Camden AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed 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 two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require 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.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Camden AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain 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 Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Camden AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and college that you select 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid 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 colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Camden AL school you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Camden AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Camden AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller 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 Camden AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Camden home, go to the school 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 approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Camden AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Ideal Camden Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Camden AL.