How to Find 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 choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Guin AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including 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 choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Guin AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in Guin AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Guin AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Guin AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may 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 College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Guin AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Guin AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Guin AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Guin AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Guin home, go to the college and monitor a couple of 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Guin AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Right Guin Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Guin AL.