How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program Valley Grande Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Valley Grande AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Valley Grande AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Valley Grande AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Valley Grande AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive 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 graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use 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 needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Valley Grande AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools 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 conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college 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 discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Valley Grande AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining 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 colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Valley Grande AL school you choose should also furnish the proper 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? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Valley Grande AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Valley Grande AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Valley Grande AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Valley Grande home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Valley Grande AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Valley Grande Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Valley Grande AL.