How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School Vernon Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Vernon AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, 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 may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking 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 class options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Vernon AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Vernon AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Vernon AL. Your choice will no doubt 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 decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally 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 cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such 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. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Vernon AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 learning. 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 ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Vernon AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Vernon AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Vernon AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Vernon AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Vernon AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Vernon AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Vernon home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Vernon AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Vernon Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Vernon AL.