How to Find the Right Interior Designer Course Geneva Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Geneva AL, it's time to begin the process of picking 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 several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
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. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Geneva AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Geneva AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Geneva AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs 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 technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such 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 programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Geneva AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Geneva AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Geneva AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Geneva AL school you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Geneva AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Geneva AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Geneva AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Geneva home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Geneva AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Geneva Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Geneva AL.