How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Gordo Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Gordo AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general 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 Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Gordo AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Gordo AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Gordo AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Gordo AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Gordo 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 cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. 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 examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Gordo AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Gordo AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. 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 college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Gordo AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Gordo AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Gordo AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Gordo home, visit the college and attend 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gordo AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Gordo Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. 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 schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gordo AL.