Interior Designer School
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Athens Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Athens AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's very important you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right school? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. However, a school is not always the right option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 options are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Athens AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate 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 banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Athens AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Athens AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional 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 professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Athens AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance 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 alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Athens AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to 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 programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Athens AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Athens AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Athens AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Athens AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Athens AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Athens home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Athens AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find Out More About Becoming an Interior Designer in Athens
Enroll in the Right Athens Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected 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 effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Athens Alabama.
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