How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School Webb Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Webb 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 get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work 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 necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living 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 can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Webb AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Webb AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose 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 addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate 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 usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Webb AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed 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 colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, 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 prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Webb AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Webb AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Webb AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Webb AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Webb AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Webb home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Webb AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Webb Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest 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 right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Webb AL.