How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Daleville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Daleville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills 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 as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Daleville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as 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 wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Daleville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Daleville AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade 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 provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Daleville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Daleville AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Daleville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Daleville AL program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Daleville AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Daleville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Daleville AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Daleville home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Daleville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose in the Right Daleville Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Daleville Alabama.