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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program Stewartville Alabama

Stewartville Alabama luxury interior designed bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Stewartville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the right 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 may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Stewartville AL may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Stewartville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Stewartville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly 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 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

For students who to study in the comfort of their Stewartville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient 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 cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Stewartville AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Stewartville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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 several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Stewartville AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Stewartville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Stewartville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately 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 one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Stewartville AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Stewartville home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Stewartville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Accredited Stewartville Interior Design Programs

Choose the Ideal Stewartville Interior Design School

Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several things 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. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Stewartville AL.