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How to Select the Best Interior Designer School near Pike Road Alabama

Pike Road Alabama interior designed living room with viewNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Pike Road 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 receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are available.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Pike Road AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Pike Road AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Pike Road AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Pike Road AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed 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 practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Pike Road AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select 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 programs and teachers. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Pike Road AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Pike Road AL college you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Pike Road AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Pike Road AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Pike Road AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Pike Road home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Pike Road AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Enroll in the Right Pike Road Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. 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 programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pike Road Alabama.