How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College Grove Hill Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Grove Hill AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the right 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 vital that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Grove Hill AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including 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 including Feng shui principles, Grove Hill AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Grove Hill AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely 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", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Grove Hill AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Grove Hill AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose 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 confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Grove Hill AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Grove Hill AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Grove Hill AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Grove Hill AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Grove Hill AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Grove Hill home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Grove Hill AL, verify 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, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Grove Hill Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grove Hill AL.