How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course Marbury Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Marbury AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business 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 trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Marbury AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Marbury AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Marbury AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose 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) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Marbury AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain 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 colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Marbury AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school 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 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 mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Marbury AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination 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? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Marbury AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Marbury AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Marbury AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Marbury home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Marbury AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Right Marbury Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Marbury AL.