How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program Piedmont Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Piedmont AL, it's time to start 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 receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly 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 cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Piedmont AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Piedmont AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Piedmont AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Piedmont AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges 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 costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Piedmont AL home. Of course 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 options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Piedmont AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Piedmont AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Piedmont AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Piedmont AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Piedmont AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Piedmont home, go to the school and monitor 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 styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Piedmont AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Best Piedmont Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges 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 Piedmont AL.