How to Find the Right Interior Design College Guin Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Guin AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 training choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires 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 residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Guin AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Guin AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Guin AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs 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 creative and technical components of the business 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 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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 mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Guin AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending 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 alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Guin AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Guin AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Guin AL program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Guin AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Guin AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Guin AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Guin home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Guin AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Guin Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Guin AL.