How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Dixiana Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Dixiana AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper 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 training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Dixiana AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, 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 areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Dixiana AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Dixiana AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Dixiana AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option 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 costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Dixiana AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Dixiana AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Dixiana AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Dixiana AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Dixiana AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Dixiana AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Dixiana home, visit the college and sit in on 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dixiana AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Dixiana Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important 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 effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dixiana Alabama.