How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course near Pinson Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Pinson AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require 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 do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business 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 work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Pinson AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas 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 many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Pinson AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Pinson AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many 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 normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required 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 accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Pinson AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Pinson AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Pinson AL college you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Pinson AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Pinson AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential 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 Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Pinson AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Pinson home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pinson AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Pinson Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pinson Alabama.