How to Find the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Scottsboro Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Scottsboro AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities 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 do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Scottsboro AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Scottsboro AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Scottsboro AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide 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. Many students enroll to advance 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.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Scottsboro AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Scottsboro AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as 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 in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Scottsboro AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Scottsboro AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Scottsboro AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Scottsboro AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Scottsboro AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Scottsboro home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Scottsboro AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Right Scottsboro Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But 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 colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsboro Alabama.