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How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program Kimberly Alabama

Kimberly Alabama beautiful interior designed bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Kimberly AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some 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 do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Kimberly AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, 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 commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Kimberly AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Kimberly AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose 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) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of 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 deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such 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. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Kimberly AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Kimberly AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Kimberly AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Kimberly AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction 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? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Kimberly AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Kimberly AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Kimberly AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Kimberly home, go to the college and attend 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 experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kimberly AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Kimberly Interior Design Schools

Pick the Right Kimberly Interior Design Program

Selecting the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However 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 properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kimberly AL.