How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Wetumpka Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Wetumpka AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration 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 Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary 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, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Wetumpka AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, 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 many areas of residential and commercial 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 produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Wetumpka AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Wetumpka AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Wetumpka AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole 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. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Wetumpka AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Wetumpka AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Wetumpka AL school you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Wetumpka AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Wetumpka AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Wetumpka AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Wetumpka home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Wetumpka AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Best Wetumpka Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to consider 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. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wetumpka Alabama.