How to Select the Right Interior Designer College Marbury Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Marbury AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation 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 before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Marbury AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Marbury AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Marbury AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate 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 typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Marbury AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Marbury AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. 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 gone through a rigorous 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Marbury AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Marbury AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Marbury AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Marbury AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Marbury AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Marbury home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there talk 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Marbury AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Marbury Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative 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 review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Marbury AL.