How to Select the Right Interior Design Program Aliceville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Aliceville AL, it's time to begin 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 get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. 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 available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires 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 living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Aliceville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly 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 focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Aliceville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Aliceville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation 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 field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty 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 mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Aliceville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Aliceville AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college 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 colleges. Also, a number of Aliceville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Aliceville AL school you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing 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 design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Aliceville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Aliceville AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Aliceville AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Aliceville home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Aliceville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Find the Best Aliceville Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Aliceville AL.