How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School Ashville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Ashville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift 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, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Ashville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Ashville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Ashville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced 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 decide to enroll in, make sure 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically 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 creative and technical aspects of the trade 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 supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Ashville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many 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 cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Ashville AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training 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, many Ashville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Ashville AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Ashville AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Ashville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Ashville AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Ashville home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ashville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm 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 Right Ashville Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ashville AL.