How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Demopolis Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Demopolis AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them 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 spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Demopolis AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Demopolis AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Demopolis AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives 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 needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve 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 degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some 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 convenience of their Demopolis AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Demopolis AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school 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 Demopolis AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Demopolis AL program you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Demopolis AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Demopolis AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Demopolis AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Demopolis home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Demopolis AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Demopolis Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Demopolis Alabama.