Interior Designer Course
How to Choose the Right One Near Fairhope Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of selecting an interior design school near Fairhope AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But just how do you go about finding the right school? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are several other considerations that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Fairhope AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Fairhope AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Fairhope AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community 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 business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Fairhope AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Fairhope AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fairhope AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Fairhope AL school you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Fairhope AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Fairhope AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fairhope AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fairhope home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out 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? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic 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 Fairhope AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More About Becoming an Interior Designer in Fairhope
Enroll in the Best Fairhope Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairhope Alabama.
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