How to Select an Interior Designer College near Perdue Hill Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Perdue Hill AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will start 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 determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Perdue Hill AL if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Perdue Hill 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 specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, Perdue Hill AL designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design in Perdue Hill AL that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose 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 some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Perdue Hill AL.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Perdue Hill AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options 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 programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing’ to study in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed 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 option if no Perdue Hill AL area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your Perdue Hill AL area school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Perdue Hill AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several states do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those states requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Perdue Hill AL program you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be employed.
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 job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Perdue Hill AL area business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of Perdue Hill AL area interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Perdue Hill AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the Perdue Hill AL interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Pick the Ideal Interior Designer Degree Program near Perdue Hill AlabamaChoosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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