How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School Stevenson Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Stevenson AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many 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 have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Stevenson AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Stevenson AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Stevenson AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain 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 cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Stevenson AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Stevenson AL residence. Of course 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 cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Stevenson AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Stevenson AL program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination 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? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Stevenson AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Stevenson AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. 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 ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Stevenson AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Stevenson home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Stevenson AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Ideal Stevenson Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Stevenson AL.