How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Carbon Hill Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Carbon Hill AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your skills 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 exam also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount 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. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Carbon Hill AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Carbon Hill AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Carbon Hill AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order 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 several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Carbon Hill AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic 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 many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Carbon Hill AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Carbon Hill AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Carbon Hill AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Carbon Hill AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Carbon Hill AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? 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 Carbon Hill AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Carbon Hill home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Carbon Hill AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Carbon Hill Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive 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 endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Carbon Hill AL.