How to Pick the Right Interior Design College Frisco City Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Frisco City 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 spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 options are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. 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 Associate or Bachelor's 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 work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Frisco City AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of 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 looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Frisco City AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Frisco City AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Frisco City AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Frisco City AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Frisco City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Frisco City AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing 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 undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Frisco City AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Frisco City AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Frisco City AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Frisco City home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Frisco City AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Frisco City Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Frisco City AL.