How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course Collinsville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Collinsville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means 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 should be asking 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 vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas 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 basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed 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 must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Collinsville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Collinsville AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Collinsville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great 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 practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Collinsville AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Collinsville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Collinsville AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Collinsville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Collinsville AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Collinsville AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Collinsville home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select 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 in the evening or on weekends near Collinsville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Ideal Collinsville Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Collinsville AL.