How to Select the Right Interior Design Course Thorsby Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Thorsby 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 interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Thorsby AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Thorsby AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Thorsby AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Thorsby AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges 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 conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Thorsby AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Thorsby AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Thorsby AL school you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained 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 placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Thorsby AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Thorsby AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Thorsby AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Thorsby home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Thorsby AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Thorsby Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Thorsby AL.