How to Choose an Interior Designer Course near Dixons Mills Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Dixons Mills AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Dixons Mills 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 a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Dixons Mills AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Dixons Mills AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically 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 some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Dixons Mills AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Dixons Mills AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Dixons Mills AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Dixons Mills AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Dixons Mills AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Dixons Mills AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Dixons Mills AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Dixons Mills home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Dixons Mills AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Dixons Mills AL?
As the World Turns cast members
Select the Right Interior Design School near Dixons Mills AL
Selecting the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dixons Mills AL.
More Awesome Cities in Alabama