How to Find the Right Interior Design Course Elba Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Elba AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Elba AL may 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, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Elba AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Elba AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick 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 covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 options 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 degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally 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 schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Elba AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed 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 many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 program you select is accredited by a respected 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Elba AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. 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 securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Elba AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Elba AL college you select should also furnish the suitable instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Elba AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Elba AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller 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 schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Elba home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to 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 alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Elba Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Elba AL.