Interior Designer Course
How to Pick the Right One Near Decatur Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of selecting an interior design school near Decatur AL once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just how do you approach finding the right school? Many prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level 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 necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Decatur AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Decatur AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Decatur AL. Your decision 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 decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt 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 field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Decatur AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Decatur AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Decatur AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Decatur AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Decatur AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Decatur AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller 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 Decatur AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Decatur home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few 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? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Learn More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in Decatur
Choose the Best Decatur Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations 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 excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Decatur Alabama.
Decatur Interior Design Colleges | Decatur Interior Design Classes