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How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Weaver Alabama

Weaver Alabama luxury interior designed bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Weaver AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. 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 account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 options are available.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Weaver AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Weaver AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Weaver AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Weaver AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic 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 many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Weaver AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Weaver AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Weaver AL college you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing 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 school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Weaver AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Weaver AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Weaver AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Weaver home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Weaver AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Top Weaver Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Ideal Weaver Interior Design College

Picking the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Weaver AL.