How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Blountsville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Blountsville AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important 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 compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working 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 residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Blountsville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Blountsville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Blountsville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs 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 usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Blountsville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire 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 Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Blountsville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Blountsville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Blountsville AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent 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 signify that the school has a large network of Blountsville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Blountsville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Blountsville AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Blountsville home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Blountsville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Blountsville Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Blountsville AL.