How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College Indian Springs Village Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Indian Springs Village AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Indian Springs Village AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Indian Springs Village AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Indian Springs Village AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Indian Springs Village AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending 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 sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Indian Springs Village AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many 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, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Indian Springs Village AL program you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Indian Springs Village AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Indian Springs Village AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Indian Springs Village AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Indian Springs Village home, go to the campus and attend 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Indian Springs Village AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Ideal Indian Springs Village Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Indian Springs Village AL.