How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Fort Deposit Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Fort Deposit AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fort Deposit AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Fort Deposit AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Fort Deposit AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five 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 several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Fort Deposit AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online 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.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Fort Deposit AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 outstanding, 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 Fort Deposit AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Fort Deposit AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Fort Deposit AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Fort Deposit AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fort Deposit AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fort Deposit home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask 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, confirm that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fort Deposit AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Pick the Best Fort Deposit Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Deposit AL.