How to Find the Right Interior Designer College New Market Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near New Market AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business 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 living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in New Market AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly 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 might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, New Market AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in New Market AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief 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 offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their New Market AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain 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 college may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your New Market AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of New Market AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the New Market AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of New Market AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the New Market AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the New Market AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your New Market home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select 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 New Market AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best New Market Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in New Market AL.