Interior Designer Program
How to Enroll in the Right One Near East Florence Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of choosing an interior design school near East Florence AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are reviewing before you make your final decision it's very important that you perform the proper due diligence. But where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs 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. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in East Florence AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, East Florence AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in East Florence AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their East Florence AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good option 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 only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your East Florence AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 receiving 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of East Florence AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the East Florence AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
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 reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of East Florence AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the East Florence AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper 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 probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the East Florence AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your East Florence home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near East Florence AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right East Florence Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. 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 remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in East Florence Alabama.