How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School Indian Springs Village Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Indian Springs Village 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 imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of 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 some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Indian Springs Village AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Indian Springs Village AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Indian Springs Village AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick 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 benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Indian Springs Village AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Indian Springs Village AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Indian Springs Village AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Indian Springs Village AL program you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Indian Springs Village AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Indian Springs Village AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Indian Springs Village AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Indian Springs Village home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Indian Springs Village AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Indian Springs Village Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Indian Springs Village AL.