How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program Town Creek Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Town Creek AL, it's time to start 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 receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important 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 Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Town Creek AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example 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 including Feng shui concepts, Town Creek AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Town Creek AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components 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 acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Town Creek AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Town Creek AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Town Creek AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Town Creek AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Town Creek AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Town Creek AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Town Creek AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Town Creek home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Town Creek AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Right Town Creek Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Town Creek AL.