How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program Trinity Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Trinity AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 training options are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Trinity AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to 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 principles, Trinity AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Trinity AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation 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 profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally 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 business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree 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 some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Trinity AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Trinity AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Trinity AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Trinity AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Trinity AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Trinity AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Trinity AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Trinity home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Trinity AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Trinity Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Trinity AL.