How to Select the Best Interior Designer School near Scottsboro Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school 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 interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires 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 taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Scottsboro AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must 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 principles, Scottsboro AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in Scottsboro AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations 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 roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
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 several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Scottsboro 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 going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving 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 reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program 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 learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Scottsboro AL residence. Naturally 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 expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Scottsboro AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare 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 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 as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Scottsboro AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support 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 a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Scottsboro AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Scottsboro AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Scottsboro AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Scottsboro home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Scottsboro AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose in the Right Scottsboro Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsboro Alabama.