How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Demopolis Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Demopolis AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general 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 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 working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to 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 produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Demopolis AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Demopolis AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student 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 provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Demopolis AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. 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 right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Demopolis AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select 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 receiving 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Demopolis AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Demopolis AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Demopolis AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Demopolis AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Demopolis AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Demopolis home, go to the school and attend a few 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Demopolis AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Best Demopolis Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Demopolis Alabama.