How to Pick the Right Interior Design College Holtville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Holtville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other important 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 training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Holtville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, 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 looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Holtville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Holtville AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized 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. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Holtville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option 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 laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Holtville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Holtville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Holtville AL college you choose should also provide the suitable 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Holtville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Holtville AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Holtville AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Holtville home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Holtville AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Holtville Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Holtville AL.