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How to Select the Right Interior Design Program near Eufaula Alabama

Eufaula Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Eufaula AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents 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 exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Eufaula AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Eufaula AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Eufaula AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly 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 three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Eufaula AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Eufaula AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal 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 regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Eufaula AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Eufaula AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing 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 need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Eufaula AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Eufaula AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Eufaula AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Eufaula home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Eufaula AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Eufaula Interior Design Colleges

Choose in the Best Eufaula Interior Design College

Choosing the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Eufaula Alabama.