How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Newton Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design 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 essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital 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 Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have 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 Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Newton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Newton AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Newton AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed 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 supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For students who to study in the comfort of their Newton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended 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 driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Newton AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Newton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
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) examination 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 also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Newton AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate 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 Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Newton AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Newton AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Newton home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Newton AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Right Newton Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete 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 schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Newton AL.