How to Select 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 gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Adamsville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Adamsville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Adamsville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Adamsville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Adamsville AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation 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 in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Adamsville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Adamsville AL program you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Adamsville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Adamsville AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually 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 may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Adamsville AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Adamsville home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Adamsville 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, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Adamsville Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is an important initial 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 particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Adamsville AL.