Interior Designer School
How to Find the Right One Near Dixiana Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Dixiana AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your skills 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 necessary training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each school you are looking at before you make your final decision it's essential that you carry out the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right program? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Dixiana AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Dixiana AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Dixiana AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees 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 three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Dixiana AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Dixiana AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Dixiana AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Dixiana AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Dixiana AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Dixiana AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Dixiana AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Dixiana home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dixiana AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Dixiana Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dixiana Alabama.