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How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Scottsboro Alabama

Scottsboro Alabama interior designed living roomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Scottsboro AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? A number of 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 issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Scottsboro AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Scottsboro AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Scottsboro AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed 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 online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many 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. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Scottsboro AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive 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 need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Scottsboro AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Scottsboro AL school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Scottsboro AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Scottsboro AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Scottsboro AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Scottsboro home, visit the college and sit in on 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 experiences have been in interior design.

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

Learn More About Scottsboro Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Best Scottsboro Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsboro Alabama.