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How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program Greensboro Alabama

Greensboro Alabama beautiful interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Greensboro AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Greensboro AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, 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 primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Greensboro AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Greensboro AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have 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 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 short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive 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 degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Greensboro AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Greensboro AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Greensboro AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Greensboro AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Greensboro AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Greensboro AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Greensboro AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Greensboro home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Greensboro AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Top Greensboro Interior Design Colleges

Find the Best Greensboro Interior Design Program

Selecting the right interior design college is an important initial step toward launching 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 difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Greensboro AL.