How to Select the Right Interior Design School Goodwater Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer 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 interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Goodwater AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Goodwater AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Goodwater AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally 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 needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Goodwater AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy 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 programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn 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 environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Goodwater AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Goodwater AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Goodwater AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Goodwater AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Goodwater AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Goodwater AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Goodwater home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant 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 offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Ideal Goodwater Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Goodwater AL.