Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Pelham Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of choosing an interior design school near Pelham AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to assess and compare each college you are looking at before you make your final choice it's very important that you do the proper research. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right school? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are many other considerations that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 options are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Pelham AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, 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 looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Pelham AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Pelham AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several 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. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly 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 professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Pelham AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline 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.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Pelham AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Pelham AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Pelham AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high 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 sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Pelham AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Pelham AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Pelham AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Pelham home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pelham AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Pelham Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a course, program 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 conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pelham Alabama.