How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College Eutaw Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Eutaw AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Eutaw AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, 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 principles, Eutaw AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Eutaw AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Eutaw AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized 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 discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Eutaw AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Eutaw AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Eutaw AL program you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance 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 field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Eutaw AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Eutaw AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Eutaw AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Eutaw home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Eutaw AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Eutaw Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Eutaw AL.