How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program Butler Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design 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 imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate 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 crucial that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Butler AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas 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 various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Butler AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Butler AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative 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 two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Butler AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to 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 alternative if no interior design schools are within driving 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 minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Butler AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer 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 industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Butler AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Butler AL program you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, 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 graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Butler AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Butler AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Butler AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Butler home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important 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 enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Butler Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Butler AL.