Interior Designer School
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Daphne Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Daphne AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision it's very important that you do the proper research. But where do you begin? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. There are various other considerations that you should weigh when comparing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Daphne AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Daphne AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Daphne AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Daphne AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution 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 laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose 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 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 right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Daphne AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Daphne AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Daphne AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Daphne AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Daphne AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Daphne AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Daphne home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Daphne AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Daphne Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Daphne Alabama.