How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program New Union Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near New Union AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents 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 as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in New Union AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, New Union AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in New Union AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following 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 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive 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 credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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 degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their New Union AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy 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 some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your New Union AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of New Union AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the New Union AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of New Union AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the New Union AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? 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. Find out from the New Union AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your New Union home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 sure that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near New Union AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal New Union Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. 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 schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in New Union AL.