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How to Find the Right Interior Designer College near Greenville Alabama

Greenville Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Greenville 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 spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Greenville 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, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may 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, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Greenville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Greenville AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of 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 furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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. Doctoral 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.

In order 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 take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Greenville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic 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 schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire 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 confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Greenville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Greenville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Greenville AL school you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Greenville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Greenville AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Greenville AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Greenville home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask 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 school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Greenville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Greenville Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best Greenville Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Greenville Alabama.