How to Pick the Right Interior Design College Warrior Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Warrior AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount 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 areas. On the other hand, 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 taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Warrior AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Warrior AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Warrior AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student 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 acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized 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 degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Warrior AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Warrior AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Warrior AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep 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 as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Warrior AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Warrior AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Warrior AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Warrior AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Warrior home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Warrior AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Warrior Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Warrior AL.