Interior Designer Degree
How to Choose the Best One Near East Florence Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of picking an interior design school near East Florence AL once you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities 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 assess and compare each school you are considering before you make your final choice it's essential that you do the proper research. But just where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. There are various other factors that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction 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 talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in East Florence 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, East Florence AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in East Florence AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced 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, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually 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 degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their East Florence AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your East Florence AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable 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 need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many East Florence AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the East Florence AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college 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 sizable network of East Florence AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the East Florence AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the East Florence AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your East Florence home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out 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? Last, make certain that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important 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, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right East Florence Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in East Florence Alabama.