How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Stewartville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Stewartville AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Stewartville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. 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 bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Stewartville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Stewartville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure 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 several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Stewartville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Stewartville AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Stewartville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Stewartville AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask 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 students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Stewartville AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Stewartville AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Stewartville AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Stewartville home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Stewartville AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Right Stewartville Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Stewartville AL.