How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program Centreville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Centreville 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 interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Centreville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly 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 banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Centreville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Centreville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Centreville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good solution 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 convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Centreville 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 qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you select 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Centreville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Centreville AL college you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Centreville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Centreville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Centreville AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Centreville home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Centreville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Centreville Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Centreville AL.