How to Select the Right Interior Design Course Grayson Valley Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Grayson Valley 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 imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some 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 essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing 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 trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together 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 often 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 example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Grayson Valley AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Grayson Valley AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets 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 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized 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 programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use 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 a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Grayson Valley AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. 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 alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive 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 environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Grayson Valley AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Grayson Valley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Grayson Valley AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Grayson Valley AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Grayson Valley AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school 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 offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Grayson Valley AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Grayson Valley home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask 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 program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Grayson Valley AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Grayson Valley Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grayson Valley AL.