How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program West Blocton Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near West Blocton AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in West Blocton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, 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 emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, West Blocton AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in West Blocton AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their West Blocton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your West Blocton AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many West Blocton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the West Blocton AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of West Blocton AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the West Blocton AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the West Blocton AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your West Blocton home, go to the college and monitor 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near West Blocton AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best West Blocton Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several points 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 profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in West Blocton AL.