How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program Clayton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Clayton 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 important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Clayton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Clayton AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Clayton AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For students who to study in the convenience of their Clayton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools 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 minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Clayton AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, 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 choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Clayton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Clayton AL college you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Clayton AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Clayton AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges 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 emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Clayton AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Clayton home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy 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 Clayton AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Clayton Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Clayton AL.