Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Scottsboro Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Scottsboro AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. It's important 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 interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's essential you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you start? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Scottsboro AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Scottsboro AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Scottsboro AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following 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 approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices 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. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university 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 mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Scottsboro AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to 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 programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Scottsboro AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm 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 respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Scottsboro AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Scottsboro AL program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Scottsboro AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Scottsboro AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Scottsboro AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Scottsboro home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Scottsboro AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Scottsboro Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsboro Alabama.