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How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program Double Springs Alabama

Double Springs Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Double Springs AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be 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 program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, 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

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Double Springs AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Double Springs AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Double Springs AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job 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 alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Classes

For students who to study in the comfort of their Double Springs AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy 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 a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Double Springs AL residence. Of course 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 cost of tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Double Springs AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Double Springs AL school you select should also provide the suitable training 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Double Springs AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Double Springs AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Double Springs AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Double Springs home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Double Springs AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Top Double Springs Interior Design Colleges

Pick the Best Double Springs Interior Design School

Selecting the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Double Springs AL.