Interior Designer College
How to Find the Right One Near Scottsboro Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of choosing an interior design school near Scottsboro AL now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to analyze and compare each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision it's vital that you perform the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right program? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business 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 trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories 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 the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Scottsboro AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Scottsboro AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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 mostly for those professionals who want 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 as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Scottsboro AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Scottsboro AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select 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 programs and instructors. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Scottsboro AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Scottsboro AL school you select should also furnish the proper 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? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Scottsboro AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Scottsboro AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Scottsboro AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Scottsboro home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Scottsboro AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Scottsboro Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsboro Alabama.