How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program Blountsville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Blountsville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of 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 essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key 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 skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Blountsville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Blountsville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Blountsville AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions 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 approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things 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 degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire 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 adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Blountsville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many 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 lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
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 a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Blountsville AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Blountsville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Blountsville AL school you enroll in 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 employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Blountsville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Blountsville AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Blountsville AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Blountsville home, visit the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Blountsville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Blountsville Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Blountsville AL.