How to Find the Right Interior Design School Uniontown Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Uniontown AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get 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 preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Uniontown AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Uniontown AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Uniontown AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick 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 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 provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive 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 degree 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 a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Uniontown AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges 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 commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools 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 environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Uniontown AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing 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 factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Uniontown AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Uniontown AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Uniontown AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Uniontown AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Uniontown AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Uniontown home, go to the school 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 approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Uniontown AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Uniontown Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Uniontown AL.