Interior Designer College
How to Choose the Best One Near Albertville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Albertville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right school? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general 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 essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Albertville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Albertville AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose 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) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. 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 college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Albertville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn 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 confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Albertville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Albertville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Albertville AL college you select should also furnish the suitable training 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Albertville AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Albertville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Albertville AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Albertville home, visit the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic 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 Albertville AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Albertville Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest 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 appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Albertville Alabama.