How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program Linden Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Linden 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 interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you start? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Linden AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus 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, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Linden AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Linden AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete 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 four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Linden AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Linden AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at 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 in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Linden AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Linden AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Linden AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Linden AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Linden AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Linden home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Linden AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Linden Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Linden AL.