How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program Union Springs Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Union Springs 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 imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Union Springs AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Union Springs AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new profession in Union Springs AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following 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 profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business 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 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Union Springs AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs 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 study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Union Springs AL residence. 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 cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Union Springs AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Union Springs AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Union Springs AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Union Springs AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Union Springs AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Union Springs home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there 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? Finally, verify that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Union Springs AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Ideal Union Springs Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Union Springs AL.