How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School Deatsville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Deatsville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Deatsville 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 the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. 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 integrating Feng shui principles, Deatsville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Deatsville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required 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 level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually 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 technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate 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 acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Deatsville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Deatsville AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Deatsville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Deatsville AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Deatsville AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Deatsville AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Deatsville AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Deatsville home, go to the school and monitor 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Deatsville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Deatsville Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Deatsville AL.