How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College Newton Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Newton AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of 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 attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Newton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Newton AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Newton AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Newton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Newton AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Newton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Newton AL program you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Newton AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Newton AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Newton AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Newton home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Newton AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Best Newton Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Newton AL.