How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program Childersburg Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Childersburg 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 interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper 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 as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of future students will launch 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 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 topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Childersburg AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Childersburg AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Childersburg AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish 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 credential needed by a graduating student 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 achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Childersburg AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Childersburg AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Childersburg AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Childersburg AL program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Childersburg AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Childersburg AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Childersburg AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Childersburg home, go to the school and attend 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 philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Childersburg AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Childersburg Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many points 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 esteemed in the profession. 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 assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Childersburg AL.