Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Best One Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Vestavia Hills 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 are licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are reviewing before you make your final choice it's vital that you carry out the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones 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. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Vestavia Hills AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, 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 areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Vestavia Hills AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Vestavia Hills AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools 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 Design Online Courses
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Vestavia Hills AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Vestavia Hills AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected 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 teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Vestavia Hills AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Vestavia Hills AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Vestavia Hills AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Vestavia Hills AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Vestavia Hills AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Vestavia Hills home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Vestavia Hills Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Vestavia Hills Alabama.