How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program Point Clear Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Point Clear AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Point Clear AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to 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 concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Point Clear AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Point Clear AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to study in the convenience of their Point Clear AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Point Clear AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Point Clear AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Point Clear AL school you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Point Clear AL business contacts where they can place 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 evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Point Clear AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Point Clear home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Point Clear AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Right Point Clear Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Point Clear AL.