Interior Designer School
How to Select the Best One Near Dothan Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of choosing an interior design school near Dothan AL once you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's very important you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of other factors that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Dothan AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may 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, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Dothan AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Dothan AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed 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 required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Dothan AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Dothan AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Dothan AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Dothan AL school you select should also provide the suitable 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Dothan AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Dothan AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Dothan AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Dothan home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Dothan AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Dothan Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dothan Alabama.