Interior Designer College
How to Select the Right One Near Princeton Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of choosing an interior design school near Princeton AL once you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. There are various other qualifications that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working 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 living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Princeton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Princeton AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Princeton AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions 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 facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Courses
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Princeton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving 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 decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Princeton AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 a demanding evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Princeton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Princeton AL school you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 received your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Princeton AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Princeton AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Princeton AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Princeton home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Princeton AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Princeton Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Princeton Alabama.