How to Select the Right Interior Designer College Grayson Valley Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Grayson Valley AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper 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 may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. 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 before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training 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, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Grayson Valley AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They 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 integrating Feng shui concepts, Grayson Valley AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Grayson Valley AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some 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. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Grayson Valley AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Grayson Valley AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Grayson Valley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Grayson Valley AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Grayson Valley AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Grayson Valley AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Grayson Valley AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Grayson Valley home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Grayson Valley AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Ideal Grayson Valley Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grayson Valley AL.