How to Select an Interior Designer School near Troy Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Troy AL, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills 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 exam also. So it’s vital that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Troy AL if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Troy AL typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, Troy AL designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design in Troy AL that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Troy AL.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Troy AL area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option 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 convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no Troy AL area interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your Troy AL area school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Troy AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several states do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those states calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Troy AL school you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer 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, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Troy AL area business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of Troy AL area interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Troy AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the Troy AL interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially 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 offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Interior Design Certification Training near Troy AlabamaSelecting the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
Some Additional Cities of Interest in Alabama