How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Stevenson Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Stevenson 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 essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work 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 requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Stevenson AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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 specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas 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 various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example 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 selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Stevenson AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new profession in Stevenson AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short 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 roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Stevenson AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Stevenson AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns 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 pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Stevenson AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Stevenson AL college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Stevenson AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Stevenson AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Stevenson AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Stevenson home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Stevenson AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Stevenson Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a program, course 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 complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Stevenson AL.