Interior Designer Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Troy Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Troy AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial 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 exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each program you are considering before you make your ultimate decision it's very important that you perform the appropriate research. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. However, a school is not always the best choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 alternatives are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad 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 basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Troy AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Troy AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals 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, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary 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 colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Courses
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Troy AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Troy AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education 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, a number of Troy AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Troy AL school you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Troy AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Troy AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Troy AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Troy home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Troy AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Troy Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things 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 esteemed in the business. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Troy Alabama.