How to Select the Right Interior Designer Program Elba Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Elba AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, 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 educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Elba AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Elba AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Elba AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated 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, make 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 some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of 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 differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Elba 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 going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical 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 traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Elba AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, including 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 obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Elba AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Elba AL school you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Elba AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Elba AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Elba AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Elba home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Elba AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Elba Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Elba AL.