How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Guntersville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Guntersville 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 essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Guntersville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Guntersville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Guntersville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several 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 furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Guntersville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed 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 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 costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Guntersville AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Guntersville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Guntersville AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Guntersville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Guntersville AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Guntersville AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Guntersville home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Guntersville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Guntersville Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Guntersville Alabama.