How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program Linden Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Linden AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Linden AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Linden AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Linden AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire 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 as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Linden AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Linden AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Linden AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Linden AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Linden AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Linden AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Linden AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Linden home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Linden AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Ideal Linden Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Linden AL.