How to Choose the Right Interior Design Program Tidmore Bend Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer 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 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 could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount 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. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Tidmore Bend AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Tidmore Bend AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Tidmore Bend AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt 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 professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Tidmore Bend AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to 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 relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 recognized 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 requesting financial aid 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 positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Tidmore Bend AL college you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Tidmore Bend AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Tidmore Bend AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tidmore Bend AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Tidmore Bend home, visit the college and attend 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend 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 alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Ideal Tidmore Bend Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tidmore Bend AL.