How to Select an Interior Designer Degree Program near Thomasville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Thomasville AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since several 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 vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Thomasville AL if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Thomasville AL typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, Thomasville AL designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design in Thomasville AL that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Thomasville AL.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Thomasville AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade 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 training in design after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For students who to study in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no Thomasville AL area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your Thomasville AL area school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in 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 gone through a demanding evaluation 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education 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 Thomasville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 college. And in some of those states requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Thomasville AL school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Thomasville AL area business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of Thomasville AL area interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative 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 provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Thomasville AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the Thomasville AL interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Thomasville AlabamaChoosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare schools 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.
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