Interior Designer Degree
How to Select the Right One Near Alexander City Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Alexander City AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's crucial you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are many other qualifications that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other crucial 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 training choices are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Alexander City AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, 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 main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Alexander City AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Alexander City AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty 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 primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Alexander City AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges 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 expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Alexander City AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Alexander City AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Alexander City AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Alexander City AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Alexander City AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Alexander City AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Alexander City home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Alexander City AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Alexander City Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Alexander City Alabama.