How to Choose the Right Interior Design College Dadeville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Dadeville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Dadeville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must 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 principles, Dadeville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Dadeville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Dadeville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Dadeville AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Dadeville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Dadeville AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Dadeville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Dadeville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Dadeville AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Dadeville home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dadeville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Dadeville Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions 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 quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dadeville AL.