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How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program Kimberly Alabama

Kimberly Alabama luxury interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Kimberly AL, it's time to start 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 get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 options are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires 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 educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Kimberly AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For 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 appearance as the primary concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Kimberly AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Kimberly AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven 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 decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Colleges

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Kimberly AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy 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 some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Kimberly AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Kimberly AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Kimberly AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Kimberly AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Kimberly AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Kimberly AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Kimberly home, visit the school 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kimberly AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Accredited Kimberly Interior Design Colleges

Choose the Right Kimberly Interior Design College

Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kimberly AL.