How to Choose the Right Interior Design Program Newton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Newton AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Newton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Newton AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Newton AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional 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 needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Newton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Newton AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Newton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Newton AL school you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Newton AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Newton AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college 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 intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from 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 monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Newton AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Newton Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But 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 evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Newton AL.