How to Select the Best Interior Designer Course near Dixiana Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Dixiana AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require 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 very important that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other important 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 Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of education 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, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Dixiana AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They 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 including Feng shui principles, Dixiana AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Dixiana AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money 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 mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered 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 in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain 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 provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs 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 students who to study in the comfort of their Dixiana AL homes, there are accredited online 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 challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Dixiana AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field 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 verify that both the degree program and the college 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 education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid 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 positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Dixiana AL program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Dixiana AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Dixiana AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Dixiana AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Dixiana home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college 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 go to classes at night or on weekends near Dixiana AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Dixiana Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dixiana Alabama.