How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School Webb Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Webb AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing 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 and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Webb AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Webb AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Webb AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Webb AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Webb AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing 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 school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Webb AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Webb AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education 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? Once you have graduated and earned 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 assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college 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 school has a substantial network of Webb AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Webb AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts 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 probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Webb AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Webb home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Webb AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Right Webb Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Webb AL.