How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Headland Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Headland AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business 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 taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Headland AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Headland AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Headland AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced 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 choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Headland AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools 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 conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized 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 dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Headland AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Headland AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Headland AL school you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Headland AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Headland AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Headland AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Headland home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend 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 alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Headland Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Headland AL.