How to Find the Best Interior Design Course near Robertsdale Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Robertsdale AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Robertsdale 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 example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Robertsdale AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Robertsdale AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Robertsdale AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added 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 as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online 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 right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Robertsdale AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Robertsdale AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Robertsdale AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Robertsdale AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Robertsdale AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Robertsdale AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Robertsdale home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Robertsdale AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Robertsdale Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Robertsdale Alabama.