Interior Designer College
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Albertville Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of selecting an interior design school near Albertville AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. There are a number of other qualifications that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent 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 trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Albertville AL may 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, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Albertville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Albertville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Courses
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Albertville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Albertville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Albertville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Albertville AL program you select 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 working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Albertville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Albertville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one 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 student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Albertville home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you select provides 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 in the evening or on weekends near Albertville AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Albertville Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Albertville Alabama.