How to Find the Right Interior Design School Margaret Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Margaret AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you start? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates 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 taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Margaret AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Margaret AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Margaret AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment 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 facets of the business required 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things 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. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Margaret AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Margaret AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in 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 a rigorous assessment of their instructors 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Margaret AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Margaret AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help 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 a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Margaret AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Margaret AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Margaret AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Margaret home, go to the campus and monitor 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 approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Margaret AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Margaret Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Margaret AL.