How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program Union Springs Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Union Springs AL, it's time to start 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 appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate 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 typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Union Springs AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Union Springs AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Union Springs AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. 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 driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Union Springs AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. 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 a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education 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 colleges for entry level positions.
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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Union Springs AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Union Springs AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Union Springs AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. 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 offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Union Springs AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Union Springs home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Union Springs AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Union Springs Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Union Springs AL.