How to Select the Best Interior Design College near Dawson Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Dawson AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills 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 crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics and other important 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 and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Dawson AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Dawson AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Dawson AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated 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 opt 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 covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive 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 credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Dawson AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option 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 as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Dawson AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Dawson AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Dawson AL college you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Dawson AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Dawson AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Dawson AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Dawson home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Dawson AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Top Colleges For Interior Design Dawson AL
Picking the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Top Colleges For Interior Design and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Training Online. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dawson AL.
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