Interior Designer Course
How to Choose the Best One Near Prattville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Prattville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each program you are reviewing prior to making your final decision it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research. But where do you begin? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Prattville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Prattville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Prattville AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized 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. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Prattville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic 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 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. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Prattville AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Prattville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Prattville AL school you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Prattville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Prattville AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Prattville AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Prattville home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school 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 in the evening or on weekends near Prattville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Learn More About Becoming an Interior Designer in Prattville
Choose the Best Prattville Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prattville Alabama.
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