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How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program Eclectic Alabama

Eclectic Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Eclectic AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by looking 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 only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Eclectic AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically 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 particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Eclectic AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Eclectic AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as 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 certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed 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 commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Eclectic AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. 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 only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you choose 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Eclectic AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Eclectic AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Eclectic AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Eclectic AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Eclectic AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Eclectic AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Eclectic home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Eclectic AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Top Eclectic Interior Design Colleges

Find the Ideal Eclectic Interior Design Program

Choosing the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Eclectic AL.