How to Select the Right Interior Design Course Kimberly Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Kimberly AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities 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 as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Kimberly AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Kimberly AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Kimberly AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business 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 for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Kimberly AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain 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 setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Kimberly AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Kimberly AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Kimberly AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 received your interior design 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, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Kimberly AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Kimberly AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Kimberly AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Kimberly home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kimberly AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Kimberly Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kimberly AL.