How to Pick 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 begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Webb AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Webb AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Webb AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required 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 design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Webb AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges 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 study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Webb AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 obtaining financial assistance 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 positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Webb AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement 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 esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Webb AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Webb AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Webb AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Webb home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Webb AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Webb Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Webb AL.