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How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Thorsby Alabama

Thorsby Alabama luxury interior designed bathroomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Thorsby AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Thorsby AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to 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 produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Thorsby AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Thorsby AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Schools

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Thorsby AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Thorsby AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs 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 Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected 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 instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Thorsby AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Thorsby AL program you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Thorsby AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Thorsby AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed 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 provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Thorsby AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Thorsby home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Thorsby AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Top Thorsby Interior Design Programs

Pick the Best Thorsby Interior Design School

Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Thorsby AL.