How to Select the Right Interior Designer College Creola Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Creola AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone 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 a number of 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 some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Creola AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Creola AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Creola AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
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 field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Creola AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges 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 environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Creola AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Creola AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Creola AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Creola AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Creola AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors 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 may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Creola AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Creola home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Creola AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Find the Ideal Creola Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. 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 ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Creola AL.