How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College Adamsville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Adamsville AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, 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 residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Adamsville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Adamsville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Adamsville AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed 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 required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Adamsville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Adamsville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Adamsville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Adamsville AL school you enroll in 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 working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Adamsville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Adamsville AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Adamsville AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Adamsville home, visit the school and sit in on a few 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Adamsville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Adamsville Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Adamsville AL.