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How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Daleville Alabama

Daleville Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Daleville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other vital 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 available.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Daleville AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Daleville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Daleville AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose 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 discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community 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 deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Daleville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Daleville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Daleville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require 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 several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Daleville AL program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing 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 school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Daleville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Daleville AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Daleville AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Daleville home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Daleville AL, confirm 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 illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Right Daleville Interior Design College

Picking the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Daleville Alabama.