How to Pick the Right Interior Design School Holtville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Holtville AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill 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 Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Holtville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Holtville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Holtville AL. Your selection will no doubt 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 opt to enroll in, make certain 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 addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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 mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Holtville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Holtville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Holtville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Holtville AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Holtville AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Holtville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Holtville AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Holtville home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Holtville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Right Holtville Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Holtville AL.