How to Select the Right Interior Design College Childersburg Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Childersburg AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Childersburg AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Childersburg AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Childersburg AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects 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 provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Childersburg AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn 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 college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Childersburg AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. 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 mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Childersburg AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Childersburg AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Childersburg AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Childersburg AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Childersburg home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Childersburg AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Best Childersburg Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Childersburg AL.