How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College Minor Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Minor AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate 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 may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial 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 training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Minor AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Minor AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Minor AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required 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 offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Minor AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be 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 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 environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Minor AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. 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 requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Minor AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Minor AL program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Minor AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Minor AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Minor AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Minor home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Minor AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Minor Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Minor AL.