How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program Fort Deposit Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Fort Deposit 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 spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home 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 reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Fort Deposit AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to 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 produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Fort Deposit AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Fort Deposit AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two 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 residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Fort Deposit AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Fort Deposit AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fort Deposit AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Fort Deposit AL program you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Fort Deposit AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Fort Deposit AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fort Deposit AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fort Deposit home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fort Deposit AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Fort Deposit Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Deposit AL.