How to Find the Right Interior Design College Underwood Petersville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Underwood Petersville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training 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 formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Underwood Petersville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Underwood Petersville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Underwood Petersville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Underwood Petersville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges 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 environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Underwood Petersville AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Underwood Petersville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Underwood Petersville AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance 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 held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Underwood Petersville AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Underwood Petersville AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Underwood Petersville AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Underwood Petersville home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Underwood Petersville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Underwood Petersville Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Underwood Petersville AL.