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How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course near Pleasant Grove Alabama

Pleasant Grove Alabama interior designed living room with viewOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Pleasant Grove AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Pleasant Grove AL may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Pleasant Grove AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Pleasant Grove AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions 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 required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally 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 sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Pleasant Grove AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Pleasant Grove AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Pleasant Grove AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Pleasant Grove AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing 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 design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Pleasant Grove AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Pleasant Grove AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Pleasant Grove AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Pleasant Grove home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pleasant Grove AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Pleasant Grove Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Right Pleasant Grove Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pleasant Grove Alabama.