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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program Grove Hill Alabama

Grove Hill Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Grove Hill AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Grove Hill AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Grove Hill AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose 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 some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for 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 creative and technical aspects of the business 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 two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance 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 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", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Colleges

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Grove Hill AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution 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 home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving 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 decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Grove Hill AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Grove Hill AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Grove Hill AL school you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Grove Hill AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Grove Hill AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Grove Hill AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Grove Hill home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Grove Hill AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Accredited Grove Hill Interior Design Programs

Pick the Right Grove Hill Interior Design School

Selecting the right interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest 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 superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Grove Hill AL.