How to Choose the Right Interior Design Program Piedmont Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Piedmont AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive 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 could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business 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 work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Piedmont AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Piedmont AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Piedmont AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things 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 wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several 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 anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Piedmont AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure 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 discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Piedmont AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Piedmont AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Piedmont AL school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Piedmont AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Piedmont AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Piedmont AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Piedmont home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Piedmont AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Right Piedmont Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Piedmont AL.