How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College Thomasville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Thomasville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Thomasville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Thomasville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Thomasville AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver 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 college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt 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 take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Thomasville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance learning. 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 perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Thomasville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting 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 programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Thomasville AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing 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 design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Thomasville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Thomasville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Thomasville AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Thomasville home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Thomasville AL, make sure 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 procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Thomasville Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Thomasville AL.