Interior Designer Program
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Athens Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Athens AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each college you are considering prior to making your final decision it's very important that you carry out the proper due diligence. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. There are a number of other qualifications that you should weigh when comparing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those issues and other crucial 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 class choices are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount 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, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Athens AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces 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 various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Athens AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Athens AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish 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.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Athens AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Athens AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select 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 enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Athens AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Athens AL program you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Athens AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Athens AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Athens AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Athens home, visit the campus and monitor a few 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Athens AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Athens Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Athens Alabama.