How to Choose the Right Interior Design Program Greensboro Alabama
Once you have made a decision 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 interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of future 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 factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Greensboro AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Greensboro AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Greensboro AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five 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 several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Greensboro AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in 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 education. If you have the discipline to earn 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 Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Greensboro AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Greensboro AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Greensboro AL college you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement 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 graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Greensboro AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Greensboro AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school 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? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Greensboro AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Greensboro home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Greensboro AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Right Greensboro Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Greensboro AL.