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How to Select the Best Interior Designer Course near Dixiana Alabama

Dixiana Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Dixiana AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents 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 also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference 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 talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business 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 taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories 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 essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Dixiana AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Degrees

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There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Dixiana AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty 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 largely 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 adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Dixiana AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good solution 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 convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Dixiana AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining 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 jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Dixiana AL school you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing 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 design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering 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 held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Dixiana AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Dixiana AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Dixiana AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Dixiana home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Dixiana AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Best Dixiana Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure 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 research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dixiana Alabama.