Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Jasper Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of choosing an interior design school near Jasper AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to analyze and compare each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision it's essential that you perform the proper due diligence. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. However, a school is not always the right choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Jasper AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Jasper AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Jasper AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 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. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Jasper AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying 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 practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Jasper AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers 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 organization. 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 obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Jasper AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Jasper AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Jasper AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Jasper AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Jasper AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Jasper home, go to the campus 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Jasper AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Jasper Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jasper Alabama.