Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Center Point Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of selecting an interior design school near Center Point AL once you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice it's essential that you carry out the proper due diligence. But exactly where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Center Point AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room 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 dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, 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 concern.
There are several 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 read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Center Point AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Center Point AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to 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 mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally 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 cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty 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. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally 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 degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Center Point AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Center Point AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors 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 school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Center Point AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Center Point AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate training 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Center Point AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Center Point AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Center Point AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Center Point home, go to the campus and attend a few 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Center Point AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Center Point Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs 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 Center Point Alabama.