How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program Grand Bay Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Grand Bay AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad 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, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, 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 including Feng shui principles, Grand Bay AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Grand Bay AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees 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 usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Grand Bay AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Grand Bay AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education 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 Grand Bay AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Grand Bay AL program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Grand Bay AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Grand Bay AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Grand Bay AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Grand Bay home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask 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 sure that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Grand Bay AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Grand Bay Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance 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 ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grand Bay AL.