How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Stewartville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Stewartville AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main 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 talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Stewartville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Stewartville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Stewartville AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four 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 minimum 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 a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The 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 mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Stewartville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good 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 convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Stewartville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry 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 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 education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Stewartville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Stewartville AL program you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high 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 may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Stewartville AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Stewartville AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Stewartville AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Stewartville home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Stewartville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Stewartville Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining 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 excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Stewartville AL.