Interior Designer School
How to Select the Right One Near Calera Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of selecting an interior design school near Calera AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's vital you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. There are several other considerations that you should weigh when comparing schools, for instance accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Calera AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Calera AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Calera AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Calera AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good solution 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 schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Calera AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Calera AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Calera AL college you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Calera AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Calera AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Calera AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Calera home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Calera AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Calera Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Calera Alabama.