How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Course Uniontown Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school 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 interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories 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 basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Uniontown AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Uniontown AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs 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 facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized 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 programs are largely for those professionals who wish 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 adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Uniontown AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Uniontown AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Uniontown AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Uniontown AL college you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Uniontown AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Uniontown AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal 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 considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Uniontown home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Uniontown AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Uniontown Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Uniontown AL.