How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Florala Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Florala AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Florala AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Florala AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Florala AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals 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, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Florala AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed 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 some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Florala AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Florala AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Florala AL college you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Florala AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Florala AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Florala AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Florala home, visit the school and attend a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Florala AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Florala Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Florala AL.