How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course Margaret Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Margaret AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Margaret AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Margaret AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Margaret AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Margaret AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution 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 practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Margaret AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Margaret AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Margaret AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Margaret AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Margaret AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Margaret AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Margaret home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Margaret AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Margaret Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Margaret AL.