How to Find the Right Interior Design College Blountsville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Blountsville AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 training options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Blountsville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Blountsville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Blountsville AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs 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.
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, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Blountsville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Blountsville AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Blountsville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Blountsville AL school you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Blountsville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Blountsville AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Blountsville AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Blountsville home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Blountsville AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Ideal Blountsville Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative 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 effectively review 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 Blountsville AL.