How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Course Valley Grande Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Valley Grande AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Valley Grande AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Valley Grande AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Valley Grande AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Valley Grande AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools 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 traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Valley Grande AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Valley Grande AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Valley Grande AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Valley Grande AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Valley Grande AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Valley Grande AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Valley Grande home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Valley Grande AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Valley Grande Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Valley Grande AL.