How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program Fort Deposit Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Fort Deposit AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Fort Deposit AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Fort Deposit AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Fort Deposit AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt 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) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Fort Deposit AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great 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 laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Fort Deposit AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, 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 cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fort Deposit AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Fort Deposit AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Fort Deposit AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Fort Deposit AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fort Deposit AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fort Deposit home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night 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, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Ideal Fort Deposit Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Deposit AL.