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How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program Vance Alabama

Vance Alabama luxury interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Vance AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get 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 could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two 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. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Vance AL can 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, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers 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 concepts, Vance AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Vance AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure 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 some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Schools

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Vance 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 going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option 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 costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

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When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Vance AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you select 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 a demanding evaluation of their teachers 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Vance AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Vance AL program you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Vance AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Vance AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Vance AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Vance home, visit the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Vance AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Top Vance Interior Design Programs

Select the Best Vance Interior Design College

Picking the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Vance AL.