How to Select the Right Interior Designer College Goodwater Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Goodwater 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 essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person 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, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Goodwater 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, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Goodwater AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Goodwater AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Goodwater AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working 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 a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Goodwater AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Goodwater AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Goodwater AL college you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Goodwater AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Goodwater AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Goodwater AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Goodwater home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Goodwater AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Pick the Best Goodwater Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Goodwater AL.