How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Greenville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Greenville AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some 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 very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Greenville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Greenville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Greenville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have 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 required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Greenville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great alternative 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 home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools 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 make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Greenville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Greenville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Greenville AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Greenville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Greenville AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Greenville AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Greenville home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Greenville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Greenville Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Greenville Alabama.