How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Stapleton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Stapleton AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Stapleton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Stapleton AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Stapleton AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- 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 typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Stapleton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Stapleton AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Stapleton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Stapleton AL program you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing 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 want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Stapleton AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Stapleton AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Stapleton AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Stapleton home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak 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, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Stapleton AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Stapleton Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Stapleton AL.