How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course Collinsville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Collinsville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates 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 residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Collinsville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. 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 predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, 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 including Feng shui concepts, Collinsville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Collinsville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be 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 a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Collinsville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Collinsville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college 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 excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Collinsville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Collinsville AL program you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing 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 college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Collinsville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Collinsville AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Collinsville AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Collinsville home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Collinsville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Collinsville Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Collinsville AL.