How to Select the Right Interior Design College Weaver Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Weaver 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 spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just 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 key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Weaver AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Weaver AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Weaver AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized 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. 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 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of 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 examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Weaver AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option 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 costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Weaver AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns 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 compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Weaver AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Weaver AL college you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs 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 a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Weaver AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Weaver AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Weaver AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Weaver home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Weaver AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Weaver Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important 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 effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Weaver AL.