How to Find an Interior Designer Course near Albertville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Albertville AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s important that you receive the right 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 training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Albertville AL if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Albertville AL often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, Albertville AL designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design in Albertville AL that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers 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, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Albertville AL.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Albertville AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 design training after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no Albertville AL area interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your Albertville AL area school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your residence. Of course 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 limit your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home 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 concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Albertville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some states do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those states requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Albertville AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the state where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Albertville AL area business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of Albertville AL area interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Albertville AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the Albertville AL interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Interior Design Degree Program near Albertville AlabamaPicking the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to recieve an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
Some Additional Cities of Interest in Alabama