How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Headland Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Headland 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 appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Headland AL may 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, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Headland AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Headland AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Headland AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose 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 acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Headland AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Headland AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Headland AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Headland AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Headland AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Headland AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Headland home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Headland AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Headland Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Headland AL.