How to Select the Right Interior Design Course Stapleton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Stapleton AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Stapleton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Stapleton AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Stapleton AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete 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 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Stapleton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Stapleton AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Stapleton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Stapleton AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Stapleton AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Stapleton AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Stapleton AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Stapleton home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Stapleton AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Stapleton Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Stapleton AL.