How to Select the Right Interior Designer 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 begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 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 a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized 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, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting 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 Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Underwood Petersville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain 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 facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly 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 three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Underwood Petersville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed 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 a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in 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 learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Underwood Petersville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance 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 jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Underwood Petersville AL college you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Underwood Petersville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Underwood Petersville AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Underwood Petersville AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Underwood Petersville home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Underwood Petersville AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Underwood Petersville Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Underwood Petersville AL.