How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program Marion Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Marion AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Marion AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized 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 must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. 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, Marion AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Marion AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Marion AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized 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 acquire 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 college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Marion AL home. Naturally 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 decrease your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Marion AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Marion AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Marion AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Marion AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Marion AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Marion home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Marion AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Right Marion Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Marion AL.