How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College Vincent Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Vincent AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Vincent AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting 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 Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Vincent AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely 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.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Vincent AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great alternative 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 convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Vincent AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest college 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 also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns 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 appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Vincent AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Vincent AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering 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 highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Vincent AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Vincent AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Vincent AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Vincent home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Vincent AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Best Vincent Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate 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 Vincent AL.