How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course near Eufaula Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Eufaula AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Eufaula AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Eufaula AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Eufaula AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated 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 decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed 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 two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally 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 degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate 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 accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Eufaula AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Eufaula AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Eufaula AL school you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Eufaula AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Eufaula AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Eufaula AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Eufaula home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening 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, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Eufaula Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Eufaula Alabama.