How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Citronelle Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Citronelle AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper 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 could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Citronelle AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might 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 color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Citronelle AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Citronelle AL. Your choice 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 regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed 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 education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate 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 usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Citronelle AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Citronelle AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Citronelle AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Citronelle AL program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing 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 designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Citronelle AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Citronelle AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Citronelle AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Citronelle home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Citronelle AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Citronelle Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Citronelle AL.