How to Find the Right Interior Designer Course Greensboro Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Greensboro AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Greensboro 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 a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Greensboro AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Greensboro AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment 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 creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Greensboro AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Greensboro AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Greensboro AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Greensboro AL program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Greensboro AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Greensboro AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper 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 little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Greensboro AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Greensboro home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in 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 Greensboro AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Greensboro Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Greensboro AL.