How to Find the Right Interior Design College Creola Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Creola AL, it's time to begin 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 obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Creola AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily 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 concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Creola AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Creola AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Creola AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire 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 Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Creola AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Creola AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Creola AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Creola AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Creola AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Creola AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Creola home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Creola AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Creola Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Creola AL.