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How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program Priceville Alabama

Priceville Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Priceville 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 interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital 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 alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting 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 living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Priceville 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, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as 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 choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Priceville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Priceville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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 a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief 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 roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade 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 two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use 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 needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Colleges

For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Priceville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges 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 study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Priceville AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Priceville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Priceville AL program you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Priceville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Priceville AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Priceville AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Priceville home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Priceville AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Priceville Interior Design Schools

Pick the Best Priceville Interior Design School

Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Priceville AL.