How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Dunnavant Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Dunnavant AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Dunnavant AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Dunnavant AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Dunnavant AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Dunnavant AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative 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 costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Dunnavant AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select 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 an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Dunnavant AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Dunnavant AL program you select should also provide the proper training 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? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Dunnavant AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Dunnavant AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Dunnavant AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Dunnavant home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dunnavant AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Dunnavant Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dunnavant AL.