How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School Holt Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Holt AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some 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 perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Holt AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Holt AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Holt AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training 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. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several 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 attend classes in the convenience of their Holt AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Holt AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Holt AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Holt AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at 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 school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Holt AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Holt AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Holt AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Holt home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Holt AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Holt Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Holt AL.