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How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program near Daleville Alabama

Daleville Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Daleville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Daleville AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Daleville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Daleville AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit 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 required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely 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 as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the comfort of their Daleville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. 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 accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Daleville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Daleville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Daleville AL school you enroll in 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 employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Daleville AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Daleville AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Daleville AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Daleville home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask 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? Last, confirm that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Daleville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Right Daleville Interior Design School

Choosing the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important 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 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 Daleville Alabama.