How to Select the Right Interior Design School Dadeville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Dadeville 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 interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents 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 exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Dadeville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Dadeville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Dadeville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain 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 some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment 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 creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
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 professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Dadeville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Dadeville AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Dadeville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Dadeville AL program you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Dadeville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Dadeville AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Dadeville AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Dadeville home, go to the school and attend 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Dadeville AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Dadeville Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points 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 field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dadeville AL.