How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program Clio Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Clio 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 obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Clio AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. 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, Clio AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Clio AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply 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 credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Clio AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working 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 colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Clio AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Clio AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Clio AL school you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Clio AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Clio AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Clio AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Clio home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school 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 go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Clio AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Clio Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Clio AL.