How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course Concord Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Concord AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover 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 distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Concord AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Concord AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Concord AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Concord AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs 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 costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school 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 acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Concord AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college 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 college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Concord AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Concord AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Concord AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Concord AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Concord AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Concord home, visit the college and attend a couple of 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Concord 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 alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Concord Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training 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 a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively 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 accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Concord AL.