Interior Designer Course
How to Find the Best One Near Alabaster Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Alabaster AL once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's vital you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Alabaster AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly 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 hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to 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, Alabaster AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Alabaster AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous 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 deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Alabaster AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working 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 a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Alabaster AL residence. 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 expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. 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 obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Alabaster AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Alabaster AL college you choose should also furnish the proper education 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Alabaster AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Alabaster AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Alabaster AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Alabaster home, go to the campus 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Alabaster Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Alabaster Alabama.