Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Find the Best One Near Albertville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Albertville AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision it's essential that you perform the proper research. But just where do you start? When checking out interior design programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. There are several other considerations that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Albertville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Albertville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Albertville AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following 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 about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Albertville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain 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 schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Albertville AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 confirm 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 accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Albertville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Albertville AL school you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out 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 profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Albertville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Albertville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Albertville AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Albertville home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Albertville AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Albertville Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Albertville Alabama.