How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College Eutaw Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Eutaw AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Eutaw AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Eutaw AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Eutaw AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with 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 training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Eutaw AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. 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 a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. 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 schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Eutaw AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing 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 school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Eutaw AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Eutaw AL school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Eutaw AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Eutaw AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide 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 may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Eutaw AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Eutaw home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Eutaw AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Right Eutaw Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several 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 field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Eutaw AL.