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How to Select the Right Interior Design Program Stevenson Alabama

Stevenson Alabama luxury interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Stevenson AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Stevenson AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Stevenson AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Stevenson AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually 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 several 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 those who wish to study in the convenience of their Stevenson AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start 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. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 undergone 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Stevenson AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Stevenson AL school you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Stevenson AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Stevenson AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Stevenson AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Stevenson home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Stevenson AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Top Stevenson Interior Design Colleges

Select the Ideal Stevenson Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Stevenson AL.