How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course Thomasville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Thomasville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Thomasville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to 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 principles, Thomasville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Thomasville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position 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 offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Thomasville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. 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 only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. 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 ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Thomasville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Thomasville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Thomasville AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Thomasville AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Thomasville AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Thomasville AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Thomasville home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Thomasville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Thomasville Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Thomasville AL.