How to Select the Right Interior Designer School Vance Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Vance AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 choices are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Vance AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Vance AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Vance AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically 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 cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many 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 a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Vance AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Vance AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Vance AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Vance AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Vance AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Vance AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Vance AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Vance home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Vance AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Vance Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Vance AL.