How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program Cedar Bluff Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Cedar Bluff AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other vital 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 training alternatives are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates 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 living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Cedar Bluff AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Cedar Bluff AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Cedar Bluff AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as 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 choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for 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 technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Cedar Bluff AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Cedar Bluff AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Cedar Bluff AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Cedar Bluff AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Cedar Bluff AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Cedar Bluff AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Cedar Bluff AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Cedar Bluff home, visit the school and monitor a couple of 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Cedar Bluff AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Best Cedar Bluff Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cedar Bluff AL.