How to Pick the Right Interior Design School Graysville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Graysville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of 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 very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal 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 spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Graysville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Graysville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Graysville AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Graysville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Graysville AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools 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 necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Graysville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Graysville AL program you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing 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 assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Graysville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Graysville AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Graysville AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Graysville home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Graysville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Pick the Ideal Graysville Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Graysville AL.