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How to Find the Right Interior Design College Uniontown Alabama

Uniontown Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Uniontown AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate 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 training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous 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 various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Uniontown AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Uniontown AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Uniontown AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things 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 degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Uniontown AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy 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 programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

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When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Uniontown AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Uniontown AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Uniontown AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Uniontown AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Uniontown AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Uniontown AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Uniontown home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Uniontown AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Online Uniontown Interior Design Colleges

Find the Ideal Uniontown Interior Design Program

Choosing the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Uniontown AL.