How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course Uniontown Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Uniontown AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate 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 vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill 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 educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Uniontown AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers 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, Uniontown AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Uniontown AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Uniontown AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select 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 learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Uniontown AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program 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 training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Uniontown AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Uniontown AL program you choose should also provide 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 working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Uniontown AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Uniontown AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Uniontown AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Uniontown home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Uniontown AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Pick the Ideal Uniontown Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Uniontown AL.