How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course Double Springs Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Double Springs AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing 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 trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Double Springs 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 a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Double Springs AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Double Springs AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Double Springs AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed 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 sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Double Springs AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Double Springs AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Double Springs AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Double Springs AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Double Springs AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Double Springs AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Double Springs home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Double Springs AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Right Double Springs Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Double Springs AL.