How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program Margaret Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college 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 interiors, it's essential that you receive the right 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 training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Margaret AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, 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 spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints 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 creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new profession in Margaret AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Margaret AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending 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 schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick 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 learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Margaret AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation 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 organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Margaret AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Margaret AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial 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 aid offices for the Margaret AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Margaret AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Margaret home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Margaret AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Margaret Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Margaret AL.