How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Scottsboro Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Scottsboro AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many 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 attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Scottsboro AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Scottsboro AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Scottsboro AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Scottsboro AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Scottsboro AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Scottsboro AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Scottsboro AL program you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools 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 an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Scottsboro AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Scottsboro AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Scottsboro AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Scottsboro home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Scottsboro AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Scottsboro Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsboro Alabama.