How to Select the Right Interior Design College Evergreen Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Evergreen 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 essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Evergreen AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Evergreen AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Evergreen AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time 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 mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical 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 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Evergreen AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. 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 right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Evergreen AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Evergreen AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Evergreen AL program you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Evergreen AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Evergreen AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Evergreen AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Evergreen home, visit the school and attend 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Evergreen AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Evergreen Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. 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, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Evergreen AL.