How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program Blountsville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Blountsville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important 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 choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Blountsville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Blountsville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Blountsville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter 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) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Blountsville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Blountsville AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Blountsville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Blountsville AL college you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Blountsville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Blountsville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Blountsville AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Blountsville home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Blountsville AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Ideal Blountsville Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Blountsville AL.