Interior Designer Course
How to Find the Right One Near Prattville Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near Prattville AL now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So in order to assess and compare each program you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research. But just how do you go about finding the right program? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. There are several other factors that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of 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 functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Prattville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Prattville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Prattville AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Prattville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Prattville AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school 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 colleges. Also, a number of Prattville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Prattville AL school you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Prattville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Prattville AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small 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 Prattville AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Prattville home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Prattville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Prattville Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prattville Alabama.