How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Atmore Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Atmore AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives 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 training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Atmore AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Atmore AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Atmore AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take 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 available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically 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, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Atmore AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added 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 make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Atmore AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Atmore AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Atmore AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Atmore AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Atmore AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Atmore AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Atmore home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Atmore AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose in the Best Atmore Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain 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 college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Atmore Alabama.