How to Find the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Childersburg Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Childersburg AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many 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 areas 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 Childersburg AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may 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 color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Childersburg AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Childersburg AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short 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 approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Childersburg AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Childersburg AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded 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 programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Childersburg AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Childersburg AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Childersburg AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Childersburg AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Childersburg AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Childersburg home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Childersburg AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and 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 Best Childersburg Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Childersburg AL.