How to Choose the Right Interior Design College New Market Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near New Market AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in New Market AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, New Market AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in New Market AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their New Market AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option 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 study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your New Market AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of New Market AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the New Market AL program you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of New Market AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the New Market AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the New Market AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your New Market home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near New Market AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Pick the Ideal New Market Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college 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 remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in New Market AL.