How to Choose the Right Interior Design College Robertsdale 36567
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Robertsdale AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Robertsdale AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Robertsdale AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Robertsdale 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically 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 cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve 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 college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Robertsdale AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Robertsdale AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Robertsdale AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Robertsdale AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Robertsdale AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Robertsdale AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Robertsdale AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Robertsdale home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in 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 go to classes at night or on weekends near Robertsdale AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Robertsdale AL?
Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the Robertsdale Alabama area. If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.
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 right interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in Interior Design Training. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Robertsdale AL.
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