Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Find the Best One Near Alexander City Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Alexander City AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision it's crucial that you do the appropriate research. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right school? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. However, a school is not always the best option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Alexander City AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, 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 main consideration.
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 create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Alexander City AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Alexander City AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve 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 programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Alexander City AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to 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 option if no interior design colleges are within driving 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 minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Alexander City AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Alexander City AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Alexander City AL school you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Alexander City AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Alexander City AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Alexander City AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Alexander City home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Alexander City AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify 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 Right Alexander City Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Alexander City Alabama.