Interior Designer Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Center Point Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of choosing an interior design school near Center Point AL now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research. But just where do you start? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Center Point AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Center Point AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Center Point AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically 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 deal with the creative and technical facets 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Center Point AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Center Point AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Center Point AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Center Point AL program you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Center Point AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Center Point AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Center Point AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Center Point home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there talk 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Center Point AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Center Point Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Center Point Alabama.