Interior Designer School
How to Pick the Best One Near Pell City Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of selecting an interior design school near Pell City 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 essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision it's very important that you do the proper research. But just how do you approach finding the right program? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Pell City AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas 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 needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Pell City AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Pell City AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty 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 degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally 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 colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Pell City AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option 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 school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Pell City AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected 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 evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Pell City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Pell City AL school you choose should also provide 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Pell City AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Pell City AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Pell City AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Pell City home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pell City AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Learn More About Becoming an Interior Designer in Pell City
Enroll in the Best Pell City Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pell City Alabama.
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