How to Select the Right Interior Designer College Butler Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Butler AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Butler AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For 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 looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Butler AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Butler AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Butler AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick 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 obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Butler AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Butler AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Butler AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. 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 higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Butler AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Butler AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Butler AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Butler home, visit the campus and attend 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 Available 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 significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Butler AL, confirm 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, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Butler Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Butler AL.