How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program Butler Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Butler AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Butler AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area 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 public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They 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 including Feng shui principles, Butler AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Butler AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Butler AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer 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 added 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 also. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected 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 acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Butler AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining 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 programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Butler AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Butler AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Butler AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Butler AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Butler home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Butler AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Butler Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Butler AL.