Interior Designer School
How to Select the Right One Near Scottsboro Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Scottsboro AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Scottsboro AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Scottsboro AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Scottsboro AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required 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. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade 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 supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Scottsboro AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Scottsboro AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Scottsboro AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Scottsboro AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Scottsboro AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Scottsboro AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Scottsboro AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Scottsboro home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Scottsboro AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Scottsboro Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative 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 programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsboro Alabama.