How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program Holt Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Holt AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Many prospective 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 important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will discuss those topics 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 offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Holt AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may 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 color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Holt AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Holt AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to 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 sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Holt AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Holt AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Holt AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Holt AL college you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Holt AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Holt AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. 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 ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Holt AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Holt home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Holt AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Holt Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Holt AL.