How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School Guin Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Guin 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 spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Guin AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, 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 concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Guin AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Guin AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required 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 supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Guin AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Guin AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Guin AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Guin AL college you enroll in should also provide 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? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Guin AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Guin AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Guin AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Guin home, visit the college 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Guin AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Ideal Guin Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Guin AL.