Interior Designer School
How to Choose the Right One Near Center Point Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Center Point AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are looking at prior to making your final decision it's vital that you perform the proper research. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 training alternatives are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Center Point AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints 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 help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Center Point AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated 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 choose 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) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Center Point AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Center Point AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Center Point AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Center Point AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Center Point AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Center Point AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Center Point AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Center Point home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Center Point AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Center Point Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Center Point Alabama.