How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course Dunnavant Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Dunnavant AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Dunnavant AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must 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, Dunnavant AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Dunnavant AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Dunnavant AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Dunnavant AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Dunnavant AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Dunnavant AL college you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Dunnavant AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Dunnavant AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Dunnavant AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Dunnavant home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night 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 procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Ideal Dunnavant Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important 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 review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dunnavant AL.