How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program Steele Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Steele AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Steele AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Steele AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Steele AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized 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 largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Steele AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Steele AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Steele AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Steele AL college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements 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 probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Steele AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Steele AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Steele AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Steele home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Steele AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Steele Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Steele AL.