Interior Designer Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Troy Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Troy AL, it's time to start the process of choosing 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 prep you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each school you are considering before you make your final decision it's very important that you do the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you approach finding the right school? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students start 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 best choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are a number of other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover 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 decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Troy AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Troy AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Troy AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty 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. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Troy AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. 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 sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Troy AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Troy AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Troy AL college you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Troy AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Troy AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Troy AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Troy home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic 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 Troy AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Learn More About Becoming an Interior Designer in Troy
Choose the Right Troy Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Troy Alabama.
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