Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Best One Near Trussville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Trussville AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. 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 examination as well. So it's very important you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But just how do you go about finding the right school? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are various other factors that you should weigh when analyzing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Trussville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Trussville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Trussville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Courses
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Trussville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Trussville AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Trussville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Trussville AL college you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Trussville AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Trussville AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Trussville AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Trussville home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Trussville AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Trussville Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Trussville Alabama.