Interior Designer College
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Dixiana Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Dixiana AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's essential you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. There are several other factors that you should weigh when analyzing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Dixiana AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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 particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily 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 concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Dixiana AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Dixiana AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate 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 achieving a 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want 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.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Dixiana AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Dixiana AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Dixiana AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Dixiana AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask 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 trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Dixiana AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Dixiana AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Dixiana AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Dixiana home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Dixiana AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Dixiana Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dixiana Alabama.