How to Find the Right Interior Design Program Clio Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Clio AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Clio AL can 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, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Clio AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Clio AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth 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 college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Clio AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire 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 program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Clio AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Clio AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Clio AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask 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 trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Clio AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Clio AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Clio AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Clio home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Clio AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Right Clio Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Clio AL.