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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program Blue Ridge Alabama

Blue Ridge Alabama beautiful interior designed custom bathroomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Blue Ridge AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Blue Ridge AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Blue Ridge AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Blue Ridge AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job 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 options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Colleges

For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Blue Ridge AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Blue Ridge AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. 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 obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Blue Ridge AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Blue Ridge AL school you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Blue Ridge AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Blue Ridge AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Blue Ridge AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Blue Ridge home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Blue Ridge AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Online Blue Ridge Interior Design Programs

Select the Right Blue Ridge Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things 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 business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Blue Ridge AL.