Interior Designer College
How to Find the Right One Near Trussville Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of picking an interior design school near Trussville AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. 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 interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's essential you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But just how do you go about finding the right program? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are a number of other qualifications that you should weigh when comparing schools, for instance accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Trussville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Trussville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Trussville AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such 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 mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Trussville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed 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 alternative if no interior design schools 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 minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Trussville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Trussville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Trussville AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Trussville AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Trussville AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors 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 probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Trussville AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Trussville home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Trussville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Find Out More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Trussville
Enroll in the Right Trussville Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Trussville Alabama.
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