Interior Designer Course
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Prichard Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Prichard AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are looking at before you make your final decision it's very important that you perform the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 choices are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Prichard AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Prichard AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Prichard AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
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 several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Prichard AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic 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 colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Prichard AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the cheapest 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 should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Prichard AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Prichard AL program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Prichard AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Prichard AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Prichard AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Prichard home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prichard AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find Out More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in Prichard
Choose the Best Prichard Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prichard Alabama.
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