How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Underwood Petersville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Underwood Petersville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Underwood Petersville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Underwood Petersville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Underwood Petersville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Underwood Petersville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Underwood Petersville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Underwood Petersville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Underwood Petersville AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Underwood Petersville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Underwood Petersville AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Underwood Petersville AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Underwood Petersville home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Underwood Petersville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Underwood Petersville Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Underwood Petersville AL.