How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Pinson Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Pinson AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary 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 talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's 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 team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Pinson AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Pinson AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Pinson AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance 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 degree programs differ 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 degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Pinson AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs 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 as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Pinson AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Pinson AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Pinson AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing 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 undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Pinson AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Pinson AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Pinson AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Pinson home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pinson AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend 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.
Enroll in the Best Pinson Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pinson Alabama.