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How to Pick the Right Interior Design College Evergreen Alabama

Evergreen Alabama luxury interior designed bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Evergreen 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 interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Evergreen AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus 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, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Evergreen AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Evergreen AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Online Interior Designer Schools

For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Evergreen AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving 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 make 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

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After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Evergreen AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, 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 most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Evergreen AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Evergreen AL school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Evergreen AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Evergreen AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Evergreen AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Evergreen home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out 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 design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Evergreen AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Top Evergreen Interior Design Schools

Choose the Right Evergreen Interior Design Program

Picking the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Evergreen AL.