How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course Webb Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Webb AL, it's time to start the process of picking 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 talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work 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 many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Webb AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently 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 looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, 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 including Feng shui concepts, Webb AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Webb AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade 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 two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such 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 mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally 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 degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Webb AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Webb AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Webb AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Webb AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement 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 esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Webb AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Webb AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Webb AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Webb home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose 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 Webb AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Webb Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Webb AL.