How to Find the Right Interior Design Course near Dauphin Island Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Dauphin Island AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s imperative that you receive the appropriate 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 training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key 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 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 Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Dauphin Island AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Dauphin Island AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Dauphin Island AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed 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 furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Dauphin Island AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes 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 accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Dauphin Island AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. 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 securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Dauphin Island AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Dauphin Island AL program you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Dauphin Island AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Dauphin Island AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Dauphin Island AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Dauphin Island home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dauphin Island AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Good Colleges For Interior Design Dauphin Island AL
Choosing the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Good Colleges For Interior Design and wanted more info on the topic Online Masters Degree In Interior Design. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dauphin Island AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Dauphin Island, Alabama
Dauphin Island is a town in Mobile County, Alabama, United States, on a barrier island of the same name (split by the Katrina Cut), at the Gulf of Mexico. It incorporated in 1988. The population was 1,238 at the 2010 census. The town is included in the Mobile metropolitan area. The island (originally named "Massacre Island") was renamed for Louis XIV of France's great-grandson and heir, the dauphin, the future Louis XV of France. The name of the island is often mistaken as "Dolphin Island"; dauphin means Prince or Oldest Son of the King in French.
The Gulf of Mexico is to the south of the island; the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay are to the north. The island's eastern end helps define the mouth of Mobile Bay. The eastern, wider portion of the island is shaded by thick stands of pine trees and saw palmettos, but the narrow, western part of the island features scrub growth and few trees.
Dauphin Island is home to Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, The Estuarium public aquarium, the Dauphin Island Airport, boat ramps, a large public pier (that sits on dry land), historic sites, several restaurants, new condominium developments, and numerous private homes. Beaches attract tourism, and fishing is a popular activity in the waters around the island. The island is connected to the mainland by the Gordon Persons Bridge.
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