How to Select the Right Interior Design School Graysville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Graysville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting 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 taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Graysville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Graysville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Graysville AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions 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 about two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Graysville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to 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 commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose 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 learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Graysville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through 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 school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Graysville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Graysville AL program you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. 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 indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Graysville AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Graysville AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Graysville AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Graysville home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Graysville AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Best Graysville Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Graysville AL.