How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course Aliceville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Aliceville 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 spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Aliceville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Aliceville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in Aliceville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain 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 college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 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 several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Aliceville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Aliceville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Aliceville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep 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 as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Aliceville AL school you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Aliceville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Aliceville AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Aliceville AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Aliceville home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few 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? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Aliceville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Ideal Aliceville Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you carry out 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 schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Aliceville AL.