How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course Goodwater Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Goodwater AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate 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 training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Goodwater AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Goodwater AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Goodwater AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as 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 sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized 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. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate 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 online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting 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 decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Goodwater AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Goodwater AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Goodwater AL college you choose should also provide the proper training 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools 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 an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Goodwater AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Goodwater AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Goodwater AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Goodwater home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Goodwater AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Ideal Goodwater Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Goodwater AL.