Interior Designer School
How to Find the Best One Near Princeton Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Princeton AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just how do you go about finding the right school? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. However, a school is not always the right choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are various other considerations that you should evaluate when comparing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Princeton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Princeton AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Princeton AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically 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 deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed 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 provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Princeton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program 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 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 perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Princeton AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Princeton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Princeton AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Princeton AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Princeton AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Princeton AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Princeton home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Princeton AL, make sure 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, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in Princeton
Choose the Right Princeton Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced 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 regarded in the business. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess 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 accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Princeton Alabama.
Princeton Interior Design Schools | Princeton Interior Design Programs