How to Select the Right Interior Design College Guin Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Guin AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those issues and other vital 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 available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Guin AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Guin AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Guin AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Guin AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option 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 home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Guin AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Guin AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Guin AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, 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 field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Guin AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Guin AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Guin AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Guin home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Guin AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Guin Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Guin AL.