How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Vincent Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Vincent AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Vincent AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Vincent AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Vincent AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed 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 education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two 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 those who wish to study in the comfort of their Vincent AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. 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 difficult. 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 colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose 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 dedication to obtain 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 Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Vincent AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive school 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 also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Vincent AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Vincent AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Vincent AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Vincent AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large 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 Vincent AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Vincent home, go to the campus and sit in on 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Vincent AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Vincent Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools 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 Vincent AL.