How to Pick the Right Interior Design School Stapleton Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer 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 residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Stapleton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Stapleton AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Stapleton AL. Your choice will no doubt 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 opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Stapleton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed 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 colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Stapleton AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Stapleton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Stapleton AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing 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 school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Stapleton 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 assistance departments for the Stapleton AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Stapleton AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Stapleton home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Stapleton AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Stapleton Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important 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 ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Stapleton AL.