How to Select the Right Interior Designer College Grand Bay Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Grand Bay AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Grand Bay AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating 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 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Grand Bay AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty 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. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Grand Bay AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper 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 college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Grand Bay AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance 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 colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Grand Bay AL college you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program'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 job. Ask the schools 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Grand Bay AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Grand Bay AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Grand Bay AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Grand Bay home, go to the campus and monitor 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. 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, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Grand Bay Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grand Bay AL.