How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course near Demopolis Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Demopolis AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities 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 as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Demopolis AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. 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 meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Demopolis AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Demopolis AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits 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 education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Demopolis AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Demopolis AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Demopolis AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Demopolis AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign 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 signify that the college has a substantial network of Demopolis AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Demopolis AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Demopolis AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Demopolis home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Demopolis AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Right Demopolis Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided 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 superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Demopolis Alabama.