Interior Designer College
How to Pick the Right One Near Dothan Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of picking an interior design school near Dothan AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's very important you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. There are various other factors that you should evaluate when comparing schools, for instance accreditation and reputation. We will cover 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 cover 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
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Dothan AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, 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 numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Dothan AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Dothan AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required 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 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized 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 degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Dothan AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication 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.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Dothan AL home. Naturally 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 cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Dothan AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools 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 necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Dothan AL school you select should also furnish the suitable 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Dothan AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Dothan AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Dothan AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Dothan home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dothan AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Dothan Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dothan Alabama.