How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program Dora Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Dora AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Dora AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Dora AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Dora AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to 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 pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Dora AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs 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 traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Dora AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Dora AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Dora AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Dora AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Dora AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Dora AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Dora home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Dora AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Dora Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided 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 excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dora AL.