How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School Deatsville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Deatsville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Deatsville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- 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 might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Deatsville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Deatsville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use 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 required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Deatsville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative 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 home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs 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 minimized or eliminated also. 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 programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen 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, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Deatsville AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Deatsville AL employers will only employ 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 necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Deatsville AL program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support 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 higher 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 could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Deatsville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Deatsville AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Deatsville AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Deatsville home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Deatsville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Deatsville Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Deatsville AL.