How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School Thorsby Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Thorsby AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. 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 some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Thorsby 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 a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may 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, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Thorsby AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Thorsby AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly 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.
In order to work as a professional 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 required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Thorsby AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure 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 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Thorsby AL home. Of course 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 cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Thorsby AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Thorsby AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Thorsby AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Thorsby AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Thorsby AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Thorsby home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Thorsby AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Best Thorsby Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Thorsby AL.