How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program Cedar Bluff Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Cedar Bluff AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction 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. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Cedar Bluff AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, 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 looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Cedar Bluff AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Cedar Bluff AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed 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 approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs 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 technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional 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 field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Cedar Bluff AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Cedar Bluff AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program 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 outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Cedar Bluff AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Cedar Bluff AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Cedar Bluff AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Cedar Bluff AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Cedar Bluff AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Cedar Bluff home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Cedar Bluff AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Cedar Bluff Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cedar Bluff AL.