How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College Underwood Petersville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Underwood Petersville AL, it's time to begin 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 a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Underwood Petersville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Underwood Petersville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Underwood Petersville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated 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 supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For students who to study in the comfort of their Underwood Petersville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying 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 a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Underwood Petersville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Underwood Petersville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Underwood Petersville AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement 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 field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Underwood Petersville AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Underwood Petersville AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Underwood Petersville AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Underwood Petersville home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. 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, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Underwood Petersville Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Underwood Petersville AL.