How to Pick an Interior Designer Course near Bay Minette Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Bay Minette AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other vital 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 available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Bay Minette AL if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Bay Minette AL frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, Bay Minette AL designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design in Bay Minette AL that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Bay Minette AL.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Bay Minette AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes 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 practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no Bay Minette AL area interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your Bay Minette AL area college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Bay Minette AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several states do mandate that interior designers get 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Bay Minette AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the state where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Bay Minette AL area business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of Bay Minette AL area interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Bay Minette AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the Bay Minette AL interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Interior Designer Program near Bay Minette AlabamaPicking the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare programs 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.
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