How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Thomasville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Thomasville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of 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 attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Thomasville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Thomasville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Thomasville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring 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 largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Thomasville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Thomasville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 verify 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 colleges. Also, a number of Thomasville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Thomasville AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Thomasville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Thomasville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Thomasville AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Thomasville home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Thomasville AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Thomasville Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Thomasville AL.