How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Daleville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Daleville AL, it's time to start 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 get the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Daleville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Daleville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Daleville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following 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 profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 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 study in the comfort of their Daleville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic 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 some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Daleville AL residence. Of course 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 cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things 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 programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Daleville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Daleville AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Daleville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Daleville AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Daleville AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Daleville home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Daleville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Daleville Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate 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 achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Daleville Alabama.