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How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program Jemison Alabama

Jemison Alabama beautiful interior designed bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Jemison AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Jemison AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Jemison AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Jemison AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Classes

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Jemison AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. 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 sole 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 costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 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

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When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Jemison AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Jemison AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Jemison AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Jemison AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Jemison AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Jemison AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Jemison home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Jemison AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Jemison Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best Jemison Interior Design Program

Choosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jemison AL.