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How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program Kinsey Alabama

Kinsey Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Kinsey AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Kinsey AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Kinsey AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Kinsey AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Colleges

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Kinsey AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option 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 many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added 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 also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn 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 Design Programs

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Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Kinsey AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Kinsey AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Kinsey AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate training 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Kinsey AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Kinsey AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Kinsey AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Kinsey home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kinsey AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Accredited Kinsey Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Right Kinsey Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire 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 college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Kinsey AL.