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How to Find the Right Interior Designer Course near Pinson Alabama

Pinson Alabama interior designed living room with viewNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Pinson AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues 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 training options are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Pinson AL can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Pinson AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Pinson AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Pinson AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great alternative 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 practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a respected 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 discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Pinson AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Pinson AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Pinson AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Pinson AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Pinson AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Pinson AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Pinson home, visit the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Pinson AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Pinson Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best Pinson Interior Design School

Selecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pinson Alabama.