How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School Kinsey Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college 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 interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Kinsey AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Kinsey AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Kinsey AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Kinsey AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent 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 practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Kinsey AL home. Of course 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 expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Kinsey AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Kinsey AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support 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 high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Kinsey AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Kinsey AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Kinsey AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Kinsey home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Kinsey AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Right Kinsey Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kinsey AL.