How to Select an Interior Design School near Dixons Mills Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Dixons Mills AL, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. 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 final selection. But where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Dixons Mills AL if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Dixons Mills AL often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, Dixons Mills AL designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design in Dixons Mills AL that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Dixons Mills AL.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Dixons Mills AL area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. 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 Dixons Mills AL area interior design programs 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 commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your Dixons Mills AL area college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Dixons Mills AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those states mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Dixons Mills AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs 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 an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Dixons Mills AL area business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of Dixons Mills AL area interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Dixons Mills AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the Dixons Mills AL interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Dixons Mills AlabamaChoosing the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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