How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Harvest Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Harvest 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 spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial 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 training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Harvest AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed 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 must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Harvest AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Harvest AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Harvest AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools 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 reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Harvest AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Harvest AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Harvest AL college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Harvest AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Harvest AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Harvest AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Harvest home, go to the college 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Harvest AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Right Harvest Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider 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 profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Harvest Alabama.