How to Pick an Interior Design Program near Elba Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Elba AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s imperative that you obtain the right 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 preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator in Elba AL if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Elba AL often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, Elba AL designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design in Elba AL that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Elba AL.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Elba AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no Elba AL area interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure 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 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 acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your Elba AL area college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Elba AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some states do mandate 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 college. And in some of those states mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Elba AL program you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the state where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. 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 a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Elba AL area business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of Elba AL area interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Elba AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the Elba AL interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Interior Design Degree Program near Elba AlabamaSelecting the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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