How to Find an Interior Design College Ariton 36311
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Ariton 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 important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s vital that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work in Ariton AL as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes in Alabama. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a Ariton designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in Ariton as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs in Ariton 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 facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position in Alabama as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialty 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. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Ariton homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic 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 many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Ariton residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry 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 programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Ariton employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those states mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the school you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position in Ariton. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide in 36311. A number of Alabama interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Ariton home, go to the campus and sit in on 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 approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Ariton, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Interior Design Program Ariton ALPicking the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.