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How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Citronelle Alabama

Citronelle Alabama elegant interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Citronelle AL, it's time to begin 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 obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business 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 work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Citronelle AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Citronelle AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Citronelle AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for 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 creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college 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 degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Classes

For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Citronelle AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Citronelle AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Citronelle AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Citronelle AL school you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Citronelle AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Citronelle AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Citronelle AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Citronelle home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Citronelle AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Accredited Citronelle Interior Design Courses

Find the Ideal Citronelle Interior Design School

Choosing the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Citronelle AL.