Interior Designer Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Vestavia Hills AL, it's time to begin 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 talent for designing commercial or residential 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 examination also. So it's crucial you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Vestavia Hills AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Vestavia Hills AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Vestavia Hills AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Courses
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Vestavia Hills AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools 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. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected 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 education. If you have the discipline 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.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Vestavia Hills AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Vestavia Hills AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Vestavia Hills AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Vestavia Hills AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Vestavia Hills AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. 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 cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Vestavia Hills AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Vestavia Hills home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find Out More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in Vestavia Hills
Choose the Right Vestavia Hills Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations 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 quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Vestavia Hills Alabama.
Vestavia Hills Interior Design Courses | Vestavia Hills Interior Design Degrees