How to Choose an Interior Design Course Glenwood 36034
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Glenwood AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting 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 talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will cover those topics 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business in Glenwood AL as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many 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 functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes in Alabama. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a Glenwood designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color shemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in Glenwood as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions 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 field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment in Glenwood as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position in Alabama as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees 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 professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Glenwood homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college 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 acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Glenwood home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Glenwood employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those states requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the school you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position in Glenwood. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer in 36034. A number of Alabama interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Glenwood home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Glenwood, confirm 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, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Best Interior Designer Certification Training Glenwood ALChoosing the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete 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 schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.