How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program Double Springs Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Double Springs AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Double Springs AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Double Springs AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Double Springs AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For students who to study in the comfort of their Double Springs AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Double Springs AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as 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 as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select 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 rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Double Springs AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Double Springs AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at 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 graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Double Springs AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Double Springs AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Double Springs AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Double Springs home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you select 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 in the evening or on weekends near Double Springs AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Find the Best Double Springs Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But 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 properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Double Springs AL.