How to Select an Interior Design Program near Pell City Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Pell City AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Pell City AL if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Pell City AL typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, Pell City AL designers frequently concentrate primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design in Pell City AL that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Pell City AL.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Pell City AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly 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 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no Pell City AL area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your Pell City AL area college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Pell City AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of states do mandate 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 several of those states mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Pell City AL school you choose should also provide the suitable training 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 Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help 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 high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Pell City AL area business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of Pell City AL area interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Pell City AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the Pell City AL interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active 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, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Right Interior Design School near Pell City AlabamaPicking the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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