How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program Thorsby Alabama
Now that you have decided 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 commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Thorsby AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Thorsby AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Thorsby AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required 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 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Thorsby AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Thorsby AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Thorsby AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Thorsby AL school you enroll in should also provide 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Thorsby AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Thorsby AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Thorsby AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Thorsby home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out 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, verify that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Thorsby AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Thorsby Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Thorsby AL.