How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program Citronelle Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Citronelle 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 receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers 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 class choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Citronelle 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, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Citronelle AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Citronelle AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive 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 college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Citronelle AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Citronelle AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Citronelle AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Citronelle AL school you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Citronelle AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Citronelle AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive 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 large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Citronelle AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Citronelle home, visit the school and attend a few 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Citronelle AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Right Citronelle Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance 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 excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Citronelle AL.