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How to Pick the Right Interior Design School near Eufaula Alabama

Eufaula Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Eufaula AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will cover those issues and other important 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 class options are offered.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential 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 Eufaula AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Eufaula AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Eufaula 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 regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty 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 mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Eufaula AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Eufaula AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Eufaula AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Eufaula AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Eufaula AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Eufaula AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Eufaula AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Eufaula home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Eufaula AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Right Eufaula Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations 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 superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Eufaula Alabama.