How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Carbon Hill Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Carbon Hill AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, 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
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Carbon Hill AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Carbon Hill AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Carbon Hill AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered 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 furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Carbon Hill AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want 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 commuting distance from your Carbon Hill AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Carbon Hill AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Carbon Hill AL college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Carbon Hill AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Carbon Hill AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Carbon Hill AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Carbon Hill home, visit the college and sit in on a few 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Carbon Hill AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Right Carbon Hill Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. 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 programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Carbon Hill AL.