How to Find the Best Interior Designer Program near Dixiana Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Dixiana AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Dixiana AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have 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 principles, Dixiana AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Dixiana AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment 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 technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want 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 as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Dixiana AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good solution 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 practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 learning. 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 right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Dixiana AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Dixiana AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Dixiana AL school you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Dixiana AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Dixiana AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Dixiana AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Dixiana home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Dixiana AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Dixiana Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course 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 perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dixiana Alabama.