How to Find the Right Interior Designer College near Boaz Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Boaz 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 appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover 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 principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires 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 educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Boaz AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. 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 Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Boaz AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Boaz AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty 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. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Boaz AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Boaz AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Boaz AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Boaz AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Boaz AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Boaz AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Boaz AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Boaz home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Boaz AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Boaz Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Boaz Alabama.