How to Select the Right Interior Design College Grayson Valley Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Grayson Valley AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 training choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them 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 necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Grayson Valley AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to 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 selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Grayson Valley AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Grayson Valley AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide 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 lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Grayson Valley AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Grayson Valley AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Grayson Valley AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Grayson Valley AL school you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Grayson Valley AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Grayson Valley AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Grayson Valley AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Grayson Valley home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Grayson Valley AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Grayson Valley Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grayson Valley AL.