Interior Designer Course
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Troy Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college 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 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, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are considering before you make your final selection it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research. But just how do you go about finding the right school? Some potential students will begin 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 happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking 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 class choices are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Troy AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Troy AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Troy 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 regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Troy AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Troy AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Troy AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Troy AL program you select should also furnish the suitable education 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? After 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 reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Troy AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Troy AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Troy AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Troy home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Troy AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Troy Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Troy Alabama.