How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School Priceville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Priceville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important 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, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. 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 Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general 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 a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have 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 concepts, Priceville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Priceville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed 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 roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 alternatives in specialty 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 degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use 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 sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Priceville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Priceville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. 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 compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Priceville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Priceville AL school you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Priceville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Priceville AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Priceville AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Priceville home, go to the college 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Priceville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Priceville Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Priceville AL.