How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Eufaula Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Eufaula AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Eufaula AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Eufaula AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Eufaula AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business 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 two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Eufaula AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution 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 schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Eufaula AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Eufaula AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Eufaula AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Eufaula AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Eufaula AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Eufaula AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Eufaula home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Eufaula AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Eufaula Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Eufaula Alabama.