How to Find the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Stewartville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Stewartville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Stewartville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might 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, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Stewartville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Stewartville AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select 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 accreditation benefits 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 needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees 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 normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Stewartville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Stewartville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. 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 examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Stewartville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Stewartville AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Stewartville AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Stewartville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Stewartville AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Stewartville home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Stewartville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Stewartville Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. 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 perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Stewartville AL.