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How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program Newton Alabama

Newton Alabama luxury interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Newton AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Newton AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized 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, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Newton AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Newton AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt 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 professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Classes

For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Newton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Newton AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Newton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Newton AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Newton AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Newton AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Newton AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Newton home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Newton AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Top Newton Interior Design Colleges

Find the Ideal Newton Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Newton AL.