How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course near Pleasant Grove Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Pleasant Grove AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital 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 class choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Pleasant Grove AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Pleasant Grove AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Pleasant Grove AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire 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 professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Pleasant Grove AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy 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 a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Pleasant Grove AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Pleasant Grove AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Pleasant Grove AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable 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? Once 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 considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Pleasant Grove AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Pleasant Grove AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors 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 larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Pleasant Grove AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Pleasant Grove home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pleasant Grove AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Pleasant Grove Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things 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 conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pleasant Grove Alabama.