How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course near Meridianville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Meridianville 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 get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Meridianville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Meridianville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Meridianville AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Meridianville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs 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 minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn 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 Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Meridianville AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Meridianville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Meridianville AL program you select should also provide the appropriate instruction 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? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Meridianville AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Meridianville AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Meridianville AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Meridianville home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Meridianville AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Best Meridianville Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Meridianville Alabama.