How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program Falkville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Falkville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Falkville 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 a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Falkville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new profession in Falkville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed 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 supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree 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 require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Falkville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Falkville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Falkville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Falkville AL school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Falkville AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Falkville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Falkville AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Falkville home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in offers 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 in the evening or on weekends near Falkville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Right Falkville Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Falkville AL.