How to Select an Interior Design Degree Program near Jackson Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Jackson AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other important 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many 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 in Jackson AL if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Jackson AL frequently 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 specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, Jackson AL designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design in Jackson AL that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Jackson AL.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Jackson AL area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no Jackson AL area interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your Jackson AL area college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Jackson AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of states do require that interior designers become 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 several of those states mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Jackson AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing 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 design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Jackson AL area business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of Jackson AL area interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Jackson AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to 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 styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the Jackson AL interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night 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 alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Ideal Interior Design School near Jackson AlabamaChoosing the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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