How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program Shoal Creek Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Shoal Creek AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. 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 before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Shoal Creek AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, 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 concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Shoal Creek AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Shoal Creek AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several 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 furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components 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 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Shoal Creek AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional 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 choose is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Shoal Creek AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Shoal Creek AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Shoal Creek AL college you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Shoal Creek AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Shoal Creek AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Shoal Creek AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Shoal Creek home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Shoal Creek AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Shoal Creek Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Shoal Creek AL.