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How to Find the Right Interior Design School Point Clear Alabama

Point Clear Alabama elegant interior designed bathroomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Point Clear AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools 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 sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

modern Point Clear Alabama interior designed business meeting room

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Point Clear AL may 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, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Point Clear AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

open Point Clear Alabama interior designed living room

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Point Clear AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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 required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such 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. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Point Clear AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

modern Point Clear Alabama interior designed walk-in kitchen

When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Point Clear AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, 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 Point Clear AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Point Clear AL program you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Point Clear AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Point Clear AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Point Clear AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Point Clear home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Point Clear AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Point Clear Interior Design Programs

Pick the Ideal Point Clear Interior Design School

Picking the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Point Clear AL.