How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School Centre Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Centre AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Centre AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Centre AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Centre AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted 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 required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Centre AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 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 school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Centre AL residence. Of course 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 fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected 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 evaluation 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Centre AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Centre AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing 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 probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Centre AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Centre AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Centre AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Centre home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Centre AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Centre Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important 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 evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Centre AL.