How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Boaz Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Boaz AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator 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 taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Boaz AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Boaz AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Boaz AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick 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 addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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 degrees are mostly 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 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Boaz AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of 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 conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be 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 colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving 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 qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Boaz AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Boaz AL program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Boaz AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Boaz AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Boaz AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Boaz home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Boaz AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Boaz Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Boaz Alabama.