Interior Designer College
How to Choose the Right One Near Enterprise Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Enterprise AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And because 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 proper training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision it's vital that you perform the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right program? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. However, a school is not always the best option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important 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 training alternatives are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires 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 taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Enterprise AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Enterprise AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Enterprise AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of 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 amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply 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. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Enterprise AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Enterprise AL residence. Of course 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 fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Enterprise AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Enterprise AL school you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Enterprise AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Enterprise AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Enterprise AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Enterprise home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Enterprise AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Enterprise Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Enterprise Alabama.