Interior Designer Course
How to Find the Right One Near Prichard Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of choosing an interior design school near Prichard AL once you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? When looking for interior design schools, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Prichard AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Prichard AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Prichard AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several 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 supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain 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 specialty majors in general areas such 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 mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Prichard AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed 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 a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain 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 colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Prichard AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. 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 an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Prichard AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Prichard AL school you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Prichard AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Prichard AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Prichard AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Prichard home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Prichard AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Prichard Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prichard Alabama.