How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program Pine Level Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Pine Level AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction 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, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Pine Level AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Pine Level AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Pine Level AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Pine Level AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed 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 a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Pine Level AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns 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 ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Pine Level AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Pine Level AL school you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Pine Level AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Pine Level AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Pine Level AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Pine Level home, visit the college and monitor a few 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pine Level AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Ideal Pine Level Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided 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 quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pine Level AL.