How to Pick an Interior Design School near Addison Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Addison AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s essential that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Addison AL if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Addison AL often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, Addison AL 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 banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design in Addison AL that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Addison AL.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Addison AL area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to study in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no Addison AL area interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your Addison AL area school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Addison AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those states calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Addison AL school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Addison AL area business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of Addison AL area interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Addison AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the Addison AL interior design college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Ideal Interior Design Degree Program near Addison AlabamaSelecting the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to recieve an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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