How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Graysville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Graysville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Graysville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially 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 dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Graysville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Graysville AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth 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 furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Graysville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 school may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Graysville AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Graysville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Graysville AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at 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 regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Graysville AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Graysville AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately 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 personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Graysville AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Graysville home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Graysville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Graysville Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Graysville AL.