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How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Priceville Alabama

Priceville Alabama luxury interior designed bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design 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 spaces, it's important that you get 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 preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Priceville AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Priceville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Priceville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven 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 decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed 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 field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Colleges

For students who to study in the convenience of their Priceville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. 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 laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Priceville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Priceville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Priceville AL college you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements 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 designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Priceville AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Priceville AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Priceville AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Priceville home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Priceville AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Priceville Interior Design Schools

Select the Ideal Priceville Interior Design School

Picking the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Priceville AL.