How to Find the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Dixiana Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Dixiana AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain 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 exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Dixiana AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Dixiana AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Dixiana AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally 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 components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Dixiana AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Dixiana AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Dixiana AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Dixiana AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Dixiana AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Dixiana AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Dixiana AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Dixiana home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Dixiana AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Dixiana Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dixiana Alabama.