Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Jasper Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of choosing an interior design school near Jasper AL now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And because interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's very important you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover 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
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business 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 requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Jasper AL can 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, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Jasper AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Jasper AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure 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 several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate 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 provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Jasper AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a respected 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 education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Jasper AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns 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 compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Jasper AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 in addition to providing an excellent education, the Jasper AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help 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 indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Jasper AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Jasper AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Jasper AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Jasper home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Jasper AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Jasper Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jasper Alabama.