How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program Union Springs Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Union Springs AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Union Springs AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Union Springs AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Union Springs AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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 required in a number of 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 provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets 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 provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Union Springs AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Union Springs AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Union Springs AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Union Springs AL program you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance 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 sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Union Springs AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Union Springs AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Union Springs AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Union Springs home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Union Springs AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend 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.
Pick the Ideal Union Springs Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Union Springs AL.