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How to Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Scottsboro Alabama

Scottsboro Alabama interior designed living roomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Scottsboro AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital 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 training options are offered.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Scottsboro 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, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of 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 looks as the main concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Scottsboro AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Scottsboro AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced 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 decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with 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 furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Scottsboro AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed 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 a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college 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 obtain 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Scottsboro AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Scottsboro AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Scottsboro AL college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at 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 highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Scottsboro AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Scottsboro AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Scottsboro AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Scottsboro home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Scottsboro AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Scottsboro Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Right Scottsboro Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsboro Alabama.