How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program Tidmore Bend Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Tidmore Bend AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad 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 area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Tidmore Bend AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Tidmore Bend AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced 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 decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to study in the comfort of their Tidmore Bend AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent 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 many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Tidmore Bend AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Tidmore Bend AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Tidmore Bend AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Tidmore Bend AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Tidmore Bend AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Tidmore Bend AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Tidmore Bend home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Tidmore Bend AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Tidmore Bend Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tidmore Bend AL.