How to Pick the Right Interior Design College Holtville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Holtville AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. 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 talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many 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 areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Holtville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Holtville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Holtville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs 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 creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. 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 degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Holtville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Holtville AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Holtville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Holtville AL school you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Holtville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Holtville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Holtville AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Holtville home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Holtville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Holtville Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things 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 regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Holtville AL.