How to Find the Right Interior Designer School Goodwater Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Goodwater AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Goodwater AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Goodwater AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Goodwater AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required 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 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty 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 degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Goodwater AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online learning. 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 ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
When 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 an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Goodwater AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Goodwater AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready 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 as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Goodwater AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Goodwater AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Goodwater AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Goodwater AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Goodwater home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Goodwater AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Pick the Right Goodwater Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Goodwater AL.