How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College Level Plains Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Level Plains AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, 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 residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Level Plains AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Level Plains AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Level Plains AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs 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 technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Level Plains AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Level Plains AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Level Plains AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Level Plains AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 received your interior design 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, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Level Plains AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Level Plains AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Level Plains AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Level Plains home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Level Plains AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Pick the Best Level Plains Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Level Plains AL.