How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Geneva Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Geneva AL, it's time to begin 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 receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 training choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Geneva AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically 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 public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Geneva AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Geneva AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed 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 provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt 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 needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Geneva AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. 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 programs are within driving distance. And as an additional 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 be sure that the school 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 learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Geneva AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 recognized 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 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 positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Geneva AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs 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 indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Geneva AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Geneva AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Geneva AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Geneva home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant 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 offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Geneva Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Geneva AL.