How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program Gordo Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Gordo 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 receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Gordo AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Gordo AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Gordo AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
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 several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Gordo AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. 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 ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Gordo AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gordo AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Gordo AL program you select should also provide the appropriate 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help 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 an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Gordo AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Gordo AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Gordo AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Gordo home, visit the campus 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gordo AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Gordo Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented 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 quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gordo AL.