How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Centreville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Centreville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Centreville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Centreville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Centreville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be 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 a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver 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 minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Centreville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Centreville AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Centreville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready 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 as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Centreville AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Centreville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Centreville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Centreville AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Centreville home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Centreville AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Centreville Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Centreville AL.