How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program Tidmore Bend Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Tidmore Bend 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 imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 training choices are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting 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 educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Tidmore Bend AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Tidmore Bend AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Tidmore Bend AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated 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 sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance 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 college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Tidmore Bend AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Tidmore Bend AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. 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 requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Tidmore Bend AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Tidmore Bend AL program you select should also provide the appropriate 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high 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 might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Tidmore Bend AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Tidmore Bend AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Tidmore Bend AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Tidmore Bend home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tidmore Bend AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Tidmore Bend Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges 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 Tidmore Bend AL.