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How to Find the Right Interior Design Program Dauphin Island Alabama

Dauphin Island Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Dauphin Island AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial 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 alternatives are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Dauphin Island AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Dauphin Island AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Dauphin Island AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be 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 discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually 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 business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly 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 require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Classes

For students who to study in the comfort of their Dauphin Island AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized 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 discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Dauphin Island AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Dauphin Island AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Dauphin Island AL school you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Dauphin Island AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Dauphin Island AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Dauphin Island AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Dauphin Island home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dauphin Island AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Online Dauphin Island Interior Design Schools

Find the Best Dauphin Island Interior Design Program

Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dauphin Island AL.