How to Select an Interior Designer College near Newton Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Newton AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s crucial that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 class options are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Newton AL if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires 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 educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Newton 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, Newton AL designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design in Newton AL that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career. Your choice 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 choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Newton AL.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Newton AL area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed 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 provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no Newton AL area interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your Newton AL area school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose 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 undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, 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 Newton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those states mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Newton AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Newton AL area business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of Newton AL area interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Newton AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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? Finally, make certain that the Newton AL interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Interior Designer Certification Training near Newton AlabamaChoosing the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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