How to Select the Right Interior Design Program New Union Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near New Union AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will begin 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 determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas 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 New Union AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, New Union AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in New Union AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate 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 specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their New Union AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your New Union AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many New Union AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the New Union AL school you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of New Union AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the New Union AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the New Union AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your New Union home, go to 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm 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 attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near New Union AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Best New Union Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations 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 quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in New Union AL.