How to Select the Right Interior Design School Marbury Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Marbury 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 interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Marbury AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially 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 public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Marbury AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Marbury AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Marbury AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed 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 many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Marbury AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, 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 considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Marbury AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Marbury AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program'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 schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Marbury AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Marbury AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative 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 larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Marbury AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Marbury home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Marbury AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Marbury Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Marbury AL.