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How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Dora Alabama

Dora Alabama beautiful interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Dora AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, 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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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Dora AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Dora AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new profession in Dora AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many 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 supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed 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 provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance 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 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 mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Schools

For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Dora AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Dora AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest 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 accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Dora AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Dora AL school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Dora AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Dora AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important 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 Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Dora AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Dora home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Dora AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Accredited Dora Interior Design Courses

Choose the Right Dora Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct 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 final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dora AL.