How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Warrior Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Warrior AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas 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 essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Warrior AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Warrior AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to 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 pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
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 good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Warrior AL residence. Naturally 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 cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Warrior AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Warrior AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Warrior AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Warrior AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Warrior AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Warrior home, go to the campus and sit in on 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Warrior AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Warrior Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Warrior AL.