How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program Valley Grande Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Valley Grande AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 class alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Valley Grande AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Valley Grande AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Valley Grande AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required 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 supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Valley Grande AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. 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 challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected 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 discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Valley Grande AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Valley Grande AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Valley Grande AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Valley Grande AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Valley Grande AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Valley Grande AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Valley Grande home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Valley Grande AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Valley Grande Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations 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 excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Valley Grande AL.