How to Pick the Right Interior Design College Fort Deposit Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Fort Deposit AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing 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 educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fort Deposit AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need 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 principles, Fort Deposit AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Fort Deposit AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish 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.
In order 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, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to study in the comfort of their Fort Deposit AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic 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 option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Fort Deposit AL residence. Obviously 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 fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fort Deposit AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Fort Deposit AL school you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Fort Deposit AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Fort Deposit AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fort Deposit AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fort Deposit home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out 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? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fort Deposit AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Fort Deposit Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Deposit AL.