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How to Select the Right Interior Design School New Market Alabama

New Market Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near New Market AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training 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 functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in New Market AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, New Market AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in New Market AL. Your selection 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 choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions 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 technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices 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 mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Schools

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their New Market AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your New Market AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 school 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 New Market AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the New Market AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement 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 highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of New Market AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the New Market AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the New Market AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your New Market home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near New Market AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Accredited New Market Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Ideal New Market Interior Design School

Picking the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in New Market AL.