How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Childersburg Alabama
Now that you have decided 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 talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues 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 class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, 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 living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two 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 room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily 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 appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to 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 choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Childersburg AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Childersburg AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Childersburg AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Childersburg AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering 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 essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Childersburg AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Childersburg AL school you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Childersburg AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Childersburg AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Childersburg AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Childersburg home, go to 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? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Childersburg AL, make sure 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, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Ideal Childersburg Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Childersburg AL.