Interior Designer Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Calera Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Calera AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision it's vital that you do the proper due diligence. But exactly where do you start? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Calera AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, 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 including Feng shui concepts, Calera AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Calera AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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 discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally 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 creative and technical aspects of the trade required 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Courses
For students who to study in the comfort of their Calera AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient 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 traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Calera AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Calera AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Calera AL college you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Calera AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Calera AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Calera AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Calera home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Calera AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Calera Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Calera Alabama.