Interior Designer Degree
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Fairhope Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Fairhope AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. There are many other considerations that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Fairhope AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Fairhope AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Fairhope AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Fairhope AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Fairhope AL residence. Obviously 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 limit your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fairhope AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Fairhope AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Fairhope AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Fairhope AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fairhope AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fairhope home, go to the school and attend a few 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fairhope AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Find Out More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in Fairhope
Enroll in the Best Fairhope Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairhope Alabama.
Fairhope Interior Design Degrees | Fairhope How To Become An Interior Designer