How to Select the Right Interior Designer School Grayson Valley Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Grayson Valley AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Grayson Valley AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Grayson Valley AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Grayson Valley AL. Your decision will undoubtedly 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 decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally 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 field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Grayson Valley AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended 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 commuting 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 also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Grayson Valley AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. 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 securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Grayson Valley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Grayson Valley AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Grayson Valley AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Grayson Valley AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Grayson Valley AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Grayson Valley home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Grayson Valley AL, confirm that those classes are available. 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 process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Grayson Valley Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grayson Valley AL.