How to Select the Right Interior Designer School Kinsey Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Kinsey AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics 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 vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, 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 trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Kinsey AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Kinsey AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Kinsey AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Kinsey AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Kinsey AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Kinsey AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Kinsey AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Kinsey AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Kinsey AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Kinsey AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Kinsey home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Kinsey AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Kinsey Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points 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 regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kinsey AL.