How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Evergreen Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Evergreen AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Evergreen AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. 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 concepts, Evergreen AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Evergreen AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things 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 mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Evergreen AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Evergreen AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Evergreen AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Evergreen AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Evergreen AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Evergreen AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Evergreen AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Evergreen home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Evergreen AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Find the Best Evergreen Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Evergreen AL.