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How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course Grand Bay Alabama

Grand Bay Alabama luxury interior designed bathroomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school 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 spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions 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 often work on new construction and existing homes. 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 predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Grand Bay AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Grand Bay AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions 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 field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many 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 a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Classes

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Grand Bay AL homes, there are online accredited 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 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 driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Grand Bay AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Grand Bay AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Grand Bay AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Grand Bay AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Grand Bay AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Grand Bay AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Grand Bay home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Grand Bay AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Accredited Grand Bay Interior Design Schools

Choose the Ideal Grand Bay Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grand Bay AL.