How to Select an Interior Designer Degree Program near Robertsdale Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Robertsdale AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Robertsdale AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed 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, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Robertsdale AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Robertsdale AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions 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 about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such 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. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the comfort of their Robertsdale AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed 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 some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Robertsdale AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish 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 colleges. Also, many Robertsdale AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Robertsdale AL program you select 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Robertsdale AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Robertsdale AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Robertsdale AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Robertsdale home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Robertsdale AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Robertsdale AL?
Robertsdale is located in southern Baldwin County at 30°33'16.034" North, 87°42'20.038" West (30.554454, -87.705566).U.S. Route 90 (Old Spanish Trail) passes through the city, leading west 24 miles (39 km) to Mobile and east 35 miles (56 km) to Pensacola, Florida.
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,276 people, 1,951 households, and 1,392 families residing in the city. The population density was 968 people per square mile (373.6/km²). There were 1,573 housing units at an average density of 357.3 per square mile (137.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.3% White, 5.4% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 6.1% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 9.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,951 households out of which 36.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.7% were non-families. 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.10.
Find the Best Interior Design School near Robertsdale AL
Picking the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Robertsdale AL.
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