How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College Aliceville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Aliceville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities 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 examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Aliceville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Aliceville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Aliceville AL. Your decision will no doubt 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 choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Aliceville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Aliceville AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded 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 confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, 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 Aliceville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Aliceville AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Aliceville AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Aliceville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Aliceville AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Aliceville home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Aliceville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Aliceville Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Aliceville AL.