How to Find the Best Interior Design Course near Guntersville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Guntersville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other important 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 options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone 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, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Guntersville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must 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 concepts, Guntersville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Guntersville AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed 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 supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Guntersville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Guntersville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training 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 jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Guntersville AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Guntersville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Guntersville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Guntersville AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Guntersville home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Guntersville AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Guntersville Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Guntersville Alabama.