How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Springville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Springville AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Springville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Springville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Springville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Springville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Springville AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions 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 select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Springville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Springville AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs 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 highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Springville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Springville AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Springville AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Springville home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Springville AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Springville Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Springville AL.