How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School Ashville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Ashville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate 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 vital that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Ashville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
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 read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Ashville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Ashville AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain 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 business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Ashville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Ashville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. 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 ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Ashville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Ashville AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Ashville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Ashville AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Ashville AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Ashville home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ashville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Ashville Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ashville AL.