How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program Holtville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Holtville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right 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 exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Holtville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Holtville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Holtville AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to 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 required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Holtville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Holtville AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Holtville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Holtville AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Holtville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Holtville AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention 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, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak 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? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Holtville 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, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Holtville Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance 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 ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Holtville AL.