How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College Adamsville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Adamsville AL, it's time to begin 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 obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training 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 residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Adamsville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Adamsville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Adamsville AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Adamsville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Adamsville AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Adamsville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Adamsville AL school you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Adamsville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Adamsville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Adamsville AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Adamsville home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to 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 attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Adamsville Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Adamsville AL.