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How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course Marion Alabama

Marion Alabama beautiful interior designed bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Marion AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools 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. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Marion AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. 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 particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They 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 incorporating Feng shui principles, Marion AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Marion AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Marion AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting 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 reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded 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 learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Marion AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices 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 decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Marion AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Marion AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Marion AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Marion AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large 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 Marion AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Marion home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Marion AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Marion Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best Marion Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the 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 superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Marion AL.