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How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Dunnavant Alabama

Dunnavant Alabama elegant interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Dunnavant AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Dunnavant AL can specialize in:

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

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Dunnavant AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Dunnavant AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Dunnavant AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools 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 make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Dunnavant AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease 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 things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Dunnavant AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Dunnavant AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Dunnavant AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Dunnavant AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Dunnavant AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Dunnavant home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Dunnavant AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Dunnavant Interior Design Programs

Find the Ideal Dunnavant Interior Design College

Picking the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dunnavant AL.