How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program Greensboro Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Greensboro AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the right 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 training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, 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 residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Greensboro AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may 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, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They 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 principles, Greensboro AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Greensboro AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Greensboro AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be 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 programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Greensboro AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Greensboro AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Greensboro AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at 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 field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Greensboro AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Greensboro AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Greensboro AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Greensboro home, visit the school and attend 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Greensboro AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Greensboro Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider 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 imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Greensboro AL.