How to Pick the Right Interior Design College Greensboro Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Greensboro AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Greensboro AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Greensboro AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Greensboro AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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 required in several states. More will be addressed 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 amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Greensboro AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Greensboro 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 cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Greensboro AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Greensboro AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Greensboro AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Greensboro AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college 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 personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Greensboro AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Greensboro home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Greensboro AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Greensboro Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Greensboro AL.