How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School Union Springs Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design 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 spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Union Springs AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Union Springs AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Union Springs AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives 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, be 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 several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. 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 university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Union Springs AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option 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 as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Union Springs AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Union Springs AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Union Springs AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination 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? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Union Springs AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Union Springs AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Union Springs AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Union Springs home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Union Springs AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Right Union Springs Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Union Springs AL.