How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School Tidmore Bend Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Tidmore Bend 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 important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 training options are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of education 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, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many 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 functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Tidmore Bend AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Tidmore Bend AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Tidmore Bend AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Tidmore Bend AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. 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 option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Tidmore Bend AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking 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 variables that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Tidmore Bend AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Tidmore Bend AL program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Tidmore Bend AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Tidmore Bend AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Tidmore Bend AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Tidmore Bend home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tidmore Bend AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Ideal Tidmore Bend Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tidmore Bend AL.