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How to Choose the Right Interior Design Program Vance Alabama

Vance Alabama elegant interior designed bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Vance 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 spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask 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 training options are offered.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

modern Vance Alabama interior designed corporate boardroom

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Vance AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

spacious Vance Alabama interior designed family room

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Vance AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to 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 required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of 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 adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Vance AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program 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 receive 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Vance AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Vance AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Vance AL school you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Vance AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Vance AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Vance AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Vance home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Vance AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Vance Interior Design Colleges

Select the Ideal Vance Interior Design School

Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Vance AL.