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How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College Valley Grande Alabama

Valley Grande Alabama elegant interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Valley Grande AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Valley Grande AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Valley Grande AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Valley Grande AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire 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 professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Colleges

For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Valley Grande AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Valley Grande AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Valley Grande AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Valley Grande AL program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement 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 held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Valley Grande AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Valley Grande AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Valley Grande AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Valley Grande home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Valley Grande AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Online Valley Grande Interior Design Courses

Find the Right Valley Grande Interior Design School

Choosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Valley Grande AL.