How to Find the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Attalla Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Attalla AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several 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 essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of 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 areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Attalla AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area 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, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Attalla AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Attalla AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Attalla AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option 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 convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose 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 dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Attalla AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Attalla AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Attalla AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out 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 sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Attalla AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Attalla AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Attalla AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Attalla home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Attalla AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Attalla Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Attalla Alabama.