How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Underwood Petersville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Underwood Petersville 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 interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Underwood Petersville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Underwood Petersville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Underwood Petersville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually 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 cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Underwood Petersville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Underwood Petersville AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Underwood Petersville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Underwood Petersville AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Underwood Petersville AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Underwood Petersville AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Underwood Petersville AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Underwood Petersville home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask 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 certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Underwood Petersville AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Underwood Petersville Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Underwood Petersville AL.