How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College Grove Hill Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Grove Hill 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 interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address 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 class choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires 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 educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Grove Hill AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Grove Hill AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Grove Hill AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Grove Hill AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. 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 only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving 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 minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Grove Hill AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 an extensive 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Grove Hill AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Grove Hill AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools 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 a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Grove Hill AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Grove Hill AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Grove Hill AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Grove Hill home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Grove Hill AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Find the Ideal Grove Hill Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct 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 appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grove Hill AL.