How to Select the Right Interior Design Program Grove Hill Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Grove Hill AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Grove Hill AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Grove Hill AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Grove Hill AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated 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 mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade 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 provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing' 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 option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Grove Hill AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting 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 employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Grove Hill AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Grove Hill AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Grove Hill AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Grove Hill AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Grove Hill home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Grove Hill AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend 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 Grove Hill Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. 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 programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grove Hill AL.