How to Find the Right Interior Design Course Vincent Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Vincent 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 important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them 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 areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Vincent AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Vincent AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Vincent AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of 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 supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Vincent AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Vincent AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Vincent AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Vincent AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Vincent AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Vincent AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Vincent AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Vincent home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Vincent AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Ideal Vincent Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Vincent AL.