Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Find the Right One Near Madison Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Madison AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each program you are reviewing prior to making your final decision it's vital that you perform the appropriate due diligence. But where do you begin? When looking for interior design schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. There are several other factors that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Madison AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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 particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Madison AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Madison AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally 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 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 obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a 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 mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Madison AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Madison AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Madison AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Madison AL college you choose should also provide the proper 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Madison AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Madison AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Madison AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Madison home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Madison AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Madison Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Madison Alabama.