How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School Kimberly Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Kimberly AL, it's time to begin 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 receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Kimberly AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Kimberly AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Kimberly AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Kimberly AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Kimberly 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 narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national 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 an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Kimberly AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Kimberly AL school you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Kimberly AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Kimberly AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Kimberly AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Kimberly home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kimberly AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Kimberly Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kimberly AL.