How to Find an Interior Design Degree Program near Quinton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Quinton AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s vital that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Quinton AL if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Quinton AL frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, Quinton AL designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design in Quinton AL that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter 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 mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Quinton AL.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Quinton AL area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve 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 college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no Quinton AL area interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your Quinton AL area college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school 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, many Quinton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some states do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those states calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Quinton AL program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Quinton AL area business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of Quinton AL area interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Quinton AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the college and monitor 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the Quinton AL interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Quinton AlabamaChoosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
Some Additional Cities of Interest in Alabama