How to Find the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Grayson Valley Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Grayson Valley AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference 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 talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Grayson Valley AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Grayson Valley AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Grayson Valley AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced 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 choose to enroll in, be 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to study in the comfort of their Grayson Valley AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic 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 a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Grayson Valley AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Grayson Valley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Grayson Valley AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Grayson Valley AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Grayson Valley AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Grayson Valley AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Grayson Valley home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify 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 attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Grayson Valley AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Grayson Valley Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grayson Valley AL.