How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College Steele Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Steele AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should 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 interested in 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 options are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Steele AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Steele AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Steele AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of 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) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate 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 typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Steele AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Steele AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers 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 might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Steele AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Steele AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Steele AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Steele AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Steele AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Steele home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out 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? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend 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 enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Right Steele Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Steele AL.