How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program Point Clear Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Point Clear AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other important 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 choices are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction 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 spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas 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 essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Point Clear AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Point Clear AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations 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 roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain 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 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Point Clear AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Point Clear AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Point Clear AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Point Clear AL college you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Point Clear AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Point Clear AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Point Clear AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Point Clear home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Point Clear AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Point Clear Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools 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 Point Clear AL.