How to Find the Best Interior Designer Program near Arab Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Arab AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 Design vs Interior Decoration
Often 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 have a general 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 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 attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Arab AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Arab AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Arab AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things 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 degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Arab AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Arab AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Arab AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Arab AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance 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 highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Arab AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Arab AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Arab AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Arab home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Arab AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Arab Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arab Alabama.