How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School Grand Bay Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Grand Bay AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount 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. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Grand Bay AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Grand Bay AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Grand Bay AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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 programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Grand Bay AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. 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 alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Grand Bay AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Grand Bay AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Grand Bay AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Grand Bay AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Grand Bay AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Grand Bay AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Grand Bay home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Grand Bay AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Grand Bay Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school 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 suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grand Bay AL.