How to Find the Right Interior Design Program Springville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Springville 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 essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount 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 many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Springville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Springville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Springville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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 degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Springville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Springville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house 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 college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm 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 field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Springville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Springville AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Springville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Springville AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Springville AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Springville home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Springville AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Springville Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Springville AL.