How to Select the Right Interior Designer School Warrior Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Warrior AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Warrior AL may 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Warrior AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Warrior AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally 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 professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Warrior AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Warrior AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. 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 securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Warrior AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Warrior AL school you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign 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 sizable network of Warrior AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Warrior AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Warrior AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Warrior home, visit the college and monitor 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Warrior 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 also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Right Warrior Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Warrior AL.